Recently Seen

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ThatDarnMKS
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:48 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:38 pm
Yeah, that's what I was getting at when I said
"
I also happen to think that one possible explanation for what happens to the family is a sort of mass delusion. The things that happen are such crude exaggerations of their own fears and desires."
While their was some *special something* that the film missed for me, it is very pleasing on several structural/technical levels. I'd say it's a movie I admire more than I like, but I can understand why some people love it.



Right, but if someone who lived a repressed life
decided to become a pirate or other kind of outlaw, they might well be killing innocent people in pursuit of their freedom and autonomy. Also, if you've read something like Young Goodman Brown, there were people disposing of infants secretly even in the puritan communities. It's just that abortion/infanticide was a really well-kept secret.
I skimmed right over that bit! Sorry! Looks like we share that appreciation. The first time I saw it, I wasn't in love but found that I couldn't stop thinking about it. A mix of expectations and a bad audience kept it from being love on first sight but I grew to love it in the coming weeks after ruminating on it and reading Eggers' AMA.

I do think...
he used the wrong ergot as I don't think wheat ergot causes hallucinations and that's just corn ergot but the inclusion of such details are my cinematic bread and butter
Also, ala YGB, which I consider a favorite short story, I don't recall the infanticide you're bringing up. I've been thinking of writing an adaptation of it but I'm too lazy to do the research.
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Popcorn Reviews
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:50 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:38 pm
Right, but if someone who lived a repressed life
decided to become a pirate or other kind of outlaw, they might well be killing innocent people in pursuit of their freedom and autonomy. Also, if you've read something like Young Goodman Brown, there were people disposing of infants secretly even in the puritan communities. It's just that abortion/infanticide was a really well-kept secret.
Yeah, I agree. I can see why someone like Thomasin would choose to do what she does in the film. I'd say it makes sense to me now.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:15 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:48 pm
Also, ala YGB, which I consider a favorite short story, I don't recall the infanticide you're bringing up. I've been thinking of writing an adaptation of it but I'm too lazy to do the research.
It's in the part with the ceremony.

""There," resumed the sable form, "are all whom ye have reverenced from youth. Ye deemed them holier than yourselves, and shrank from your own sin, contrasting it with their lives of righteousness, and prayerful aspirations heavenward. Yet, here are they all, in my worshipping assembly! This night it shall be granted you to know their secret deeds; how hoary-bearded elders of the church have whispered wanton words to the young maids of their households; how many a woman, eager for widow's weeds, has given her husband a drink at bed-time, and let him sleep his last sleep in her bosom; how beardless youth have made haste to inherit their father's wealth; and how fair damsels--blush not, sweet ones--have dug little graves in the garden, and bidden me, the sole guest, to an infant's funeral."
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:42 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:15 am
It's in the part with the ceremony.

""There," resumed the sable form, "are all whom ye have reverenced from youth. Ye deemed them holier than yourselves, and shrank from your own sin, contrasting it with their lives of righteousness, and prayerful aspirations heavenward. Yet, here are they all, in my worshipping assembly! This night it shall be granted you to know their secret deeds; how hoary-bearded elders of the church have whispered wanton words to the young maids of their households; how many a woman, eager for widow's weeds, has given her husband a drink at bed-time, and let him sleep his last sleep in her bosom; how beardless youth have made haste to inherit their father's wealth; and how fair damsels--blush not, sweet ones--have dug little graves in the garden, and bidden me, the sole guest, to an infant's funeral."
Ah! That ceremony is filled with so much that the line slipped past me or was forgotten. I thought you were saying there were babies sacrificed DURING the ceremony and I felt I might have REALLY missed something big. I may have to reread it anyways.

I watched The Standoff at Sparrow Creek. I thought it was fantastic until the last couple of mins when it becomes conventional, clumsy and fairly hamfisted. Doesn't break the movie by any means but I was thinking it was going to creep into being a favorite despite playing out like an alt-right tinged Reservoir Dogs remake.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:40 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:42 am
I watched The Standoff at Sparrow Creek. I thought it was fantastic until the last couple of mins when it becomes conventional, clumsy and fairly hamfisted. Doesn't break the movie by any means but I was thinking it was going to creep into being a favorite despite playing out like an alt-right tinged Reservoir Dogs remake.
It never quite got to great for me. The middle had just a few too many cliches, like the socially-isolated teen character, or the speech the one guy gives about
how his daughter was raped and murdered by a gang while an undercover cop just watched (and let's be real, we know who they mean by "a gang").
I admired it, but there were a few too many things about it that I didn't like to make it a favorite or even something I'd be super excited to watch again. I'd still recommend it, but it's solidly in the B/B- zone.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:51 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:40 pm
It never quite got to great for me. The middle had just a few too many cliches, like the socially-isolated teen character, or the speech the one guy gives about
how his daughter was raped and murdered by a gang while an undercover cop just watched (and let's be real, we know who they mean by "a gang").
I admired it, but there were a few too many things about it that I didn't like to make it a favorite or even something I'd be super excited to watch again. I'd still recommend it, but it's solidly in the B/B- zone.
I didn't have a problem with those elements because the majority of these militia prepper types tend to operate as living stereotypes.

I think the things that appealed to me most weren't the story elements but rather the formalism. In terms of shot composition, the film had such a deft hand at controlling visual information. The mise-en-scene of such films usually devolves into rote shot reverse shot tactics but the film always founds something to do with low key lighting, character placement and space that there was always something more going on between the characters than what was being said.

I do consider the script to be very solid, regardless of well worn territory, given that the restraint and gradual unveiling of information kept it from ever feeling like a chore waiting for it to get to the next plot point. I was too wrapped up in the aforementioned formalism and character ideosyncracies to care. The two you mentioned could easily be put down as caricatures but they're played with such conviction and are cast extraordinarily well that they felt real.



On a separate note,

I saw AD ASTRA. It would be easy to sum it up as Apocalypse Now meets Interstellar/Sunshine but it comes to such a poignant peak that I couldn't help but come to love the flick. I wish it had ended 1 minute sooner.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:59 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:51 am
I didn't have a problem with those elements because the majority of these militia prepper types tend to operate as living stereotypes.

I think the things that appealed to me most weren't the story elements but rather the formalism. In terms of shot composition, the film had such a deft hand at controlling visual information. The mise-en-scene of such films usually devolves into rote shot reverse shot tactics but the film always founds something to do with low key lighting, character placement and space that there was always something more going on between the characters than what was being said.

I do consider the script to be very solid, regardless of well worn territory, given that the restraint and gradual unveiling of information kept it from ever feeling like a chore waiting for it to get to the next plot point. I was too wrapped up in the aforementioned formalism and character ideosyncracies to care. The two you mentioned could easily be put down as caricatures but they're played with such conviction and are cast extraordinarily well that they felt real.
I think we'll maybe have to agree to disagree here. I can't pinpoint exactly when, but the characters began to feel more like moving plot pieces than real people at some point to me.

And while I loved the isolation element of them following the
new of all the other shootings, that aspect of the film becomes a huge, HUGE let down with the final reveal.

I think that part of my problem is that the film has one of my most hated tropes, ie a plot by someone that involves REALLY accurate predictions about what someone would do. The police **just knew** that he would make everyone give up their phones. Okay, let's suppose that's true. If one single person in that entire facility had any access to the outside world--tablet, smart watch, whatever--or managed to get one of their phones back, the whole thing goes sideways because they would immediately know that there weren't any attacks happening.

I love the concept of "how would these prepper types feel if their dream apocalypse actually happened?". I think it's a really cool question. I just wish they'd come up with a better way of having it all pan out.
Like you, I think that there's plenty to admire about the film. And I was pretty positive on it immediately after watching it. But chewing over those last few reveals/plot turns/twists/whatever has tamped down my appreciation a bit.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:15 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:59 am
I think we'll maybe have to agree to disagree here. I can't pinpoint exactly when, but the characters began to feel more like moving plot pieces than real people at some point to me.

And while I loved the isolation element of them following the
new of all the other shootings, that aspect of the film becomes a huge, HUGE let down with the final reveal.

I think that part of my problem is that the film has one of my most hated tropes, ie a plot by someone that involves REALLY accurate predictions about what someone would do. The police **just knew** that he would make everyone give up their phones. Okay, let's suppose that's true. If one single person in that entire facility had any access to the outside world--tablet, smart watch, whatever--or managed to get one of their phones back, the whole thing goes sideways because they would immediately know that there weren't any attacks happening.

I love the concept of "how would these prepper types feel if their dream apocalypse actually happened?". I think it's a really cool question. I just wish they'd come up with a better way of having it all pan out.
Like you, I think that there's plenty to admire about the film. And I was pretty positive on it immediately after watching it. But chewing over those last few reveals/plot turns/twists/whatever has tamped down my appreciation a bit.
I don't disagree on the problems the climax brings to the film. It is utterly implausible but when a film is as well made as this, plausibility becomes less of an issue. It was enough to keep me from loving it because the execution of the reveal was poorly done. Had it been done with comparable tact and craft as the rest of the film, I'd completely overlook any and all plausibility issues the way I do many of the works of Hitchcock or Diabolique.

Because it stumbles on the end, it forces me to question...
the very nature of the investigation. This film purports that the government is actively targeting right wing militia types when all evidence points to the opposite. There's a reason the KKK isn't labelled a terrorist group in this country so some of the backstory seems to exist only to try to maintain a false equivalency between cops and militia.

That said, I do find it pleasing that when confronted with what they all suspected would happen, the militia self destructs and ultimately get themselves killed, revealing how pointless the lifestyle is.
Similar to High Tension, I just decided that I can't let a poor ending hamper my enjoyment and appreciation of the vast majority of the rest of the film.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:29 pm

The Florida Project - 9/10 - The subject matter is depressing as hell but it's such a well made movie that any qualms you might have are quickly overcome. Willem Dafoe is so damn good in this that, having watched all the 2018 Academy Award Best Supporting Actor performances, I think he deserved his first win on his third go round. Rockwell did okay I suppose but Dafoe's performance was stronger IMO and he was better than Christopher Plummer, Richard Jenkins or Woody Harrelson. Anyway he was great. He makes for a superb bad guy but he always seems to shine as a heroic or sympathetic figure, be it Mississippi Burning, Clear and Present Danger, John Wick or even something like The Clearing. Anyway, the little girl playing Moonee is a wonder. The final few minutes of the movie and Moonee's final scene with Jancey are so powerful that it's to director and writer Sean Baker's credit that this is only her second professional role. And the other two kid actors playing Scooty and Jancey, along with the actress playing her mother Halley are first time actors.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:41 pm

I don't know if I've mentioned TFP that much before, but yeah, it's ridiculously great. It's pure poetry in the sense of how it effortlessly captures the brutality and dangers of the world, all unbeknownst to the child characters. What makes it so devastating is that the children don't even understand the extent of what goes on around them. Also, unlike some people on this forum, I think the ending to it was just fine. As of now, I'm currently trying to decide whether Moonlight is better or if this is A24's best film.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:54 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:41 pm
I don't know if I've mentioned TFP that much before, but yeah, it's ridiculously great. It's pure poetry in the sense of how it effortlessly captures the brutality and dangers of the world, all unbeknownst to the child characters. What makes it so devastating is that the children don't even understand the extent of what goes on around them. Also, unlike some people on this forum, I think the ending to it was just fine. As of now, I'm currently trying to decide if Moonlight is better or if this is A24's best film.
You mean
Moonee and Jancey running away to Disney World? What did these "other people" see as the problem? Was it not believable to them? Overly sentimental? I thought it was heartbreaking and fit perfectly with the overall tone established by the rest of the movie. "I can't say it!" ripped my heart out.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:06 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:54 pm
You mean
Moonee and Jancey running away to Disney World? What did these "other people" see as the problem? Was it not believable to them? Overly sentimental? I thought it was heartbreaking and fit perfectly with the overall tone established by the rest of the movie.
I think the main issue people here have with the ending is that,
while the general concept of retreating into your fantasies after being confronted with a devastating revelation is interesting and all, a fantasy based ending felt off since the film which came before it had a completely different tone. They felt the ending would've worked better had the film been based more in fantasy/more reliant on imagination.

What I think of the ending though is that the abruptness of it is reflected in Moonee's head space. I think she realizes that the bubble she's been living in throughout the film has popped and that she's finally realized the extent of what's been happening around her. All of this is so sudden, and it's not going to be okay for her. Retreating into her fantasies is something that fits with how a child would act when something major like this hits them as fast it does in the film. Much like the tone makes a drastic change, so does Moonee's childhood. This is why I clicked with the ending.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:07 pm

You guys need to watch this (if you haven't already). Deez nuts!

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:10 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:06 pm
I think the main issue people here have with the ending is that,
while the general concept of retreating into your fantasies after being confronted with a devastating revelation is interesting and all, a fantasy based ending felt off since the film which came before it had a completely different tone. They felt the ending would've worked better had the film been based more in fantasy/more reliant on imagination.

What I think of the ending though is that the abruptness of it is reflected in Moonee's head space. I think she realizes that the bubble she's been living in throughout the film has popped and that she's finally realized the extent of what's been happening around her. All of this is so sudden, and it's not going to be okay for her. Retreating into her fantasies is something that fits with how a child would act when something major like this hits them as fast it does in the film. Much like the tone makes a drastic change, so does Moonee's childhood. This is why I clicked with the ending.
Yeah. I don't see what their beef is. It comes off a little nit picky. The ending worked fine.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:48 pm

The ending of TFP project is as great as everything that came before it. It fits entirely in with the tone of the film as well as what it says about the children characters.

Pffft to anyone who disagrees.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:06 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:51 am
On a separate note,

I saw AD ASTRA. It would be easy to sum it up as Apocalypse Now meets Interstellar/Sunshine but it comes to such a poignant peak that I couldn't help but come to love the flick. I wish it had ended 1 minute sooner.
I liked AA myself (as you could see in my review), but, in response to your point about wishing it had ended earlier, I felt that the final moment of
reconciliation with the wife felt a bit underwhelming, and that ties into my larger complaint with the way the characters were developed (or not), as Gray relied too much on Roy's insular perspective, aided by almost nothing else but a couple of brief video clips, a few faint scraps of memories, and endless voice-overs, which contributed to the film's overall problem of the characters feeling undercooked. And, relying on those tools in order to characterize Roy, the other characters, and his relationships to them was a mistake, because moments like when his father admits that he has no interest in him would've worked much better if the film had done more to set up the idea beforehand (and in more visceral ways than just staring at a video screen) that maybe his father left on the mission because he cared more about searching the stars than his own family, and establishing that notion more firmly definitely would've made the confirmation of that fear land with a harder impact than it actually did.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:41 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:15 am
I don't disagree on the problems the climax brings to the film. It is utterly implausible but when a film is as well made as this, plausibility becomes less of an issue. It was enough to keep me from loving it because the execution of the reveal was poorly done. Had it been done with comparable tact and craft as the rest of the film, I'd completely overlook any and all plausibility issues the way I do many of the works of Hitchcock or Diabolique.
.
.
.
Similar to High Tension, I just decided that I can't let a poor ending hamper my enjoyment and appreciation of the vast majority of the rest of the film.
I mean, I still appreciate it. But with more time and reflection, the elements I didn't care for feel like they loom larger. Like, for example, we are meant to accept that
the guy's daughter was raped and murdered by a gang in front of a undercover cop. That's not something that this militia guy has made up--in the reality of the film it's an event that really happened.
.

And in retrospect, the degree to which
the investigators had accurately predicted the protagonist's actions--almost to the T--just doesn't sit well with me.
I'd still call it a solid B, but my initial enthusiasm has been somewhat reduced.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:56 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:13 am
Not at all.
But the historical context of the patriarchy outlines the particular set of vulnerabilities that this family encounters. Dad decides he's upset, so the whole family has to go live in isolation in the woods. Cool. Sexual repression (driven by a male-centric church system) also makes the family--and especially the son--vulnerable. The female body is seen as a temptation and a weakness. A "good" wife/daughter does not question the man of the house.
I question the degree to which any of this is the cause of the family's troubles though. Does the arrogant zealotry help their situation? I doubt it. But I also doubt that, another example, a Native American family residing in the same wilderness would have been more inherently protected from such an evil (again, under the presumption that the witch is real and not, tellingly, a phantom of puritanical superstition). Are Native babies less viscous? I wouldn't think so. Would we then claim that the Natives' relative superstitions were to blame for their misfortunes had they stumbled upon this witch? Maybe blame the witch?


Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:13 am
In the end, the main character has a choice: her soul will belong to a man, but in one version of that she gets to be powerful. This is a conflict born of having lived and suffered under a male-centric society.
Yes, her soul will belong to a man, and she "gets to be powerful" in the sense that she now must commit atrocities herself against the innocent babies that she will have to prey upon and possibly mash into masturbatory unctions. Monsters are admittedly powerful too.

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:13 am
I also happen to think that one possible explanation for what happens to the family is a sort of mass delusion. The things that happen are such crude exaggerations of their own fears and desires.
This theory is about the easiest way out from the apparent contradictions that I've mentioned. But I don't buy it. There's no ambiguity, as presented in the film, over the existence of this witch, showing scenes of the witch which are completely independent of the family's perception.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:13 am
The fallacies of the patriarchy aren't necessarily the film's thesis, but I would argue that it's a critical part of its structure. A witch could certainly still prey on a group of democratic hippie-people, but I'd imagine that it would look very different. There would be a whole other set of insecurities to exploit.
I'm not sure about the "structure" but, yes, the film takes plenty of opportunities to mock the vapid piety of their religion. The problem, thematically, is that their religion is largely irrelvant to their predicament. As you point out, under different cultural circumstances, the witch would still find a way to terrorize and prey on them. Therefore, as a "critique" of religious agency, it's meaningless. If the film offers a solution of feminine liberation as the path laid by this witch, or whatever demonic pimp behind the coven, then it is woefully inadequete at best.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:13 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:48 pm
I do think...
he used the wrong ergot as I don't think wheat ergot causes hallucinations and that's just corn ergot but the inclusion of such details are my cinematic bread and butter
I think you may have this backward. Wheat ergot is psychoactive. Ergot is not known to grow from corn, which was the primary crop in The Witch. Eggers may have been unaware of that ergot is specifically a fungus of some kinds of grasses and cereals and not affecting other crops.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:28 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:56 am
Would we then claim that the Natives' relative superstitions were to blame for their misfortunes had they stumbled upon this witch? Maybe blame the witch?
It's both. The witch is evil. The patriarchy/repression gives her ammunition with which to assail the family. The fact that the particular family structure leads to all of the family members being kind of neurotic could be seen as a dig as "traditional" Western patriarchy.
Yes, her soul will belong to a man, and she "gets to be powerful" in the sense that she now must commit atrocities herself against the innocent babies that she will have to prey upon and possibly mash into masturbatory unctions. Monsters are admittedly powerful too.
I'm not disagreeing.
I mean, most anti-heroes that we love tend to hurt people in their pursuits. Dudes love Walter White, you know, the guy who watched a young woman choke to death on her own vomit? And yet people speak reverently of his character because he's daring to do something bold with his life instead of "going softly". If someone chooses to be a monster over choosing to be subservient/passive, I think that there's something in there we can all understand.
As you point out, under different cultural circumstances, the witch would still find a way to terrorize and prey on them. Therefore, as a "critique" of religious agency, it's meaningless.
I disagree. I see the critique in the film of not just the specific religion (Puritanism), but of the hypocrisy of the people in charge under that system. Consider the sins that the father commits: pride, lying by omission. Any religion is only as good as the people practicing it. It's the deception and lack of trust that are woven into this supposedly pious family that spells their doom. The witch plays a part, but the witch didn't make the husband sell the cup and lie about it. The witch didn't make the brother super horny. The witch exploits the weaknesses that the family is supposedly above. And because they are unable to communicate with each other, they become each others' enemies instead of allies.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:38 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:56 am
I'm not sure about the "structure" but, yes, the film takes plenty of opportunities to mock the vapid piety of their religion. The problem, thematically, is that their religion is largely irrelvant to their predicament. As you point out, under different cultural circumstances, the witch would still find a way to terrorize and prey on them. Therefore, as a "critique" of religious agency, it's meaningless. If the film offers a solution of feminine liberation as the path laid by this witch, or whatever demonic pimp behind the coven, then it is woefully inadequete at best.
This is what got in the way of my appreciation of the film. I think there was an opportunity here to ride the line a la The Innocents, and maybe even a bit of a desire, but the film tips enough into the supernaturalism of the story that the alternatives (ergot! orthodoxy!) felt more like winks to the audience than part of a meaningful battle between the two ideas. I have no doubt Eggers had "Young Goodman Brown" on his mind, but what gives that story its power is the lack of knowing, and so what the author ultimately concludes about human nature (which cuts across both the uncanny and the fantastic explanations) feels trenchant.

There's also a part of me that just can't help being a little bummed that all these actual women died in all these circumstances of "you're a witch!!" accusations, and our collective artistic takeaway was to tell stories where they actually were. It's an overreaction on my part, but it's just... it sucks. It's like if we told stories about the Inquisition where the Cathars were actually evil all along.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:43 am

There's also a part of me that's still annoyed by Eggers' twee "A Folk Tale" and "this is a very accurate story, I'm a good research boy" touches. Congratulations, you did research for your period drama. (Pelosi-clap)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:55 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:28 am
It's both. The witch is evil. The patriarchy/repression gives her ammunition with which to assail the family.
But absent what? All of the other conceivable ways in which she can assail those in other systems? Again, as you said, the theme of empowerment is based in her choice. By this admission, both choices are evil in some capacity. So what's innocence? I would say that the most innocent person in the film is the infant.
Is religion to blame for its misfortune? It seems that the ways the film mocks the religion/hypocrisy of the family are in how they respond to this initial evil. But given an optimally ethical and egalitarian family, the baby be bouillabaisse either way. It seems like a weird moral contrast to draw, which is why I dismiss an intended moral contrast here.

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:28 am
I'm not disagreeing.
I mean, most anti-heroes that we love tend to hurt people in their pursuits. Dudes love Walter White, you know, the guy who watched a young woman choke to death on her own vomit? And yet people speak reverently of his character because he's daring to do something bold with his life instead of "going softly". If someone chooses to be a monster over choosing to be subservient/passive, I think that there's something in there we can all understand.
I can see a messy issue here. On the one hand, I would say that I don't see any intended political subtext in Walter White's arc, but I guess I can easily imagine reddit pages filled with people extrapolating on them. I'm not sure what the analogue term for "going soft" would be compared to the patriarchy - bourgie, maybe? Anyway, I would still have to ridicule a theory that posited all of Walter's troubles as being caused by his bourgeois environment.


Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:28 am
Any religion is only as good as the people practicing it.
But that also dilutes the specific religious critique. What's being mocked are more fundamental failings of human nature - pride, lying, judgment - classic stuff. Zealotry and selfish piety can be evident in every religion and ideology. Some feminists may even fall into these categories on rare, extreme occasions.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:35 am

Re-posting my old review of Alien that I originally shared here pre-death of RT since it's October:
Image

In space, no one can hear you scream.
"You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? A perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. A survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality." The above quote is spoken about the titular creature in Ridley Scott's Alien, but it can just as easily be applied to the film itself, as it doesn't concern itself with unnecessary things like details about what the future world of the movie is like, throwaway backstories, or needless romances developing between the characters, and, while all of that may make the film sound thin on paper, on celluloid, it results in a Horror offering that's unparalleled in its use of thick atmosphere, slow pacing, and, er, "alien" environments and concepts to instill a sense of dread within us, and ends up creating what is, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the best Horror film I've ever seen.

The world of Alien is a frighteningly cold and isolated one, consisting solely of the ship Nostromo, the planet LV-246, and the seven people and various incarnations of the Xenomorph that inhabit both. Earth, and other forms of civilization, are briefly mentioned, but for all the relevance they have to the plot, the Aliens & the Nostromo crew may as well be the last things in existence. This is essential to the film's sense of isolation, but its feeling of living in a hostile, alien universe comes from the general production design, which is really the 8th star of the movie. Even on the Nostromo, a ship supposedly designed for human beings, the environments feel very claustrophobic and "alien", with monitors, lights, and doors that turn on by themselves, cavernous industrial rooms with metal chains ominously dripping and hanging by overhead, and computer mainframes where the constant "whoosh" of the air-cooling fans make it sound like the room itself is breathing on you.

Then you have the derelict alien craft and its unsettlingly gooey, asymmetrical, "bio-mechanical" corridors and openings, as well as the various creatures contained within: the Space Jockey, the Facehugger, and of course, the Alien itself, with frighteningly sexual, malevolent undertones in their designs, courtesy of an Oscar-winning H.R. Giger. This, combined with the horrors of a crewmate bleeding and spewing out white "blood" as he tries to suffocate you, or an infant extraterrestrial bursting out of your chest, result in a universe where you can't trust other "people", or even your own body.

But of course, all of these elements would be for naught without Ridley Scott's methodically cunning, atmospheric direction taking full advantage of them; because of him, this is a highly reassured, confident film, never rushing its storytelling nor delaying it unnecessarily, over-indulging in needless gore, or bringing in unnecessary story entanglements to give off an illusion of being "busy" (although Dan O'Bannon's screenplay must also be given credit for that). Instead, he recognizes the film's various strengths and focuses on them, keeping things slow so we can soak in Alien's highly pure, one-of-a-kind atmosphere and terror, resulting in a cinematic universe where truly, honestly, no one can hear you scream.
Final Score: 10
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:03 am

I usually watch Alien every October. It's obviously a great film and I can't imagine anyone not loving it. Out of curiosity, what do you think of Aliens?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:15 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:03 am
I usually watch Alien every October. It's obviously a great film and I can't imagine anyone not loving it. Out of curiosity, what do you think of Aliens?
I think Aliens isn't as good as the original, seeing as how, in Cameron's transition of the series from Sci-Fi/Horror to balls-to-the-wall 80's Actioner, it undeniably lost some of the unique, one-of-a-kind vibe that made Alien so great, with the amazing, beautifully bleak production design of the original giving way to a far more utilitarian look, with too many identical, anonymous industrial corridors as the carnage began to take more center stage, but, despite that, it's still a pretty great film, managing to follow up on the fallout from the original in a natural, earned fashion, expanding on the Xenomorph lore while still respecting it, and it has one of the most intense final half hours of any film I've ever seen, so it's about the best result we could've hoped for coming out of such a radical switch in genres (which I'm sure most young directors never would've even considered, yet alone gone through with so succesfully), so I'm definitely a fan of it as well.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:31 am

Alien is the best sci-fi horror movie of all time.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:32 am

Stu wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:15 am
I think Aliens isn't as good as the original, seeing as how, in Cameron's transition of the series from Sci-Fi/Horror to balls-to-the-wall 80's Actioner, it undeniably lost some of the unique, one-of-a-kind vibe that made Alien so great, with the amazing, beautifully bleak production design of the original giving way to a far more utilitarian look, with too many identical, anonymous industrial corridors, but, despite that, it's still a pretty great film, with one of the most intense final half hours of any film I've ever seen, and it's about the best result we could've hoped for coming out of such a radical switch in genres (which I'm sure most young directors never would've even considered, yet alone gone through with so succesfully), so I'm definitely a fan of it as well.
That's pretty much how I feel about it. What I like about Aliens is that, while it isn't Alien, it doesn't try to be it as Cameron goes for more of a visceral tone as opposed to the slow-burning tension which made Alien so great. As a result, he manages to make the film his own, not a variation of Scott's film. It was also a fine film in its own right as it had its fair share of standout scares, sequences, and set pieces. While it's been a while since I've seen it, the only part of it which hasn't aged well in my opinion was the
child in peril cliché
near the final act as I feel like this is a cheap way to create suspense. Overall though, really good film.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:46 pm

Re: Alien and Aliens, to me, they're essentially tied. They're as different as they come with different goals and ways to achieve it, and they both succeed at it. A perfect 1-2 punch.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:07 pm

Aliens is structurally a pretty common remake in that it follows the original’s beats pretty closely (approx. an hour before contact, surprise betrayal from Company agent, replace the cat with Newt, surprise alien hiding climax, blown out the airlock, etc). However, it does so fairly audaciously with a shift in tone (from horror to action) and scope that effectively hides those commonalities.

That said, reducing the nebulous, nefarious rape demon of the first film to the simplistic, animalistic drone xenomorph as well as other dumbing downs (why don’t we question them entering LV-426 without protective gear given the nature of infection but attack Covenant?) keep it from reaching the utter perfection of Alien but it’s still a damn great film.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:47 pm

I do prefer Alien, but Aliens as a sequel is unreasonably fun and involving. Truly we are blessed.

After Terminator, it also firms up Cameron's considerable ability to build rock-solid stories where the final third can be almost entirely action payoff.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:18 pm

Aliens can't hold Alien's blankstrap.

Cameron's film is a really great actioner but I don't think it feels like anything more than that. Alien exists in its own beautiful world. It has poetry.

One could be argued to be considered one of the great films of all time. The other is simply one of the greatest action films of the 80s.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:32 pm

I'm with Crumb on this one.

The original trailer for Alien is also probably the best trailer ever made.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:29 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:18 pm
Aliens can't hold Alien's blankstrap.

Cameron's film is a really great actioner but I don't think it feels like anything more than that. Alien exists in its own beautiful world. It has poetry.

One could be argued to be considered one of the great films of all time. The other is simply one of the greatest action films of the 80s.
One could argue that being among the greatest action movies of the decade makes it among the greatest films of all time.

That said, I agree that it's not nearly as good as Alien.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:06 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:29 pm
One could argue that being among the greatest action movies of the decade makes it among the greatest films of all time.
I supppoooose you could, but I wouldn't.

I'm a fan of genre films, and I would load a bunch of them into 'greatest ever lists'. But only those that also manage to transcend the genre, and I don't particularly get that from Aliens. John Woo transcends. The Raid 2 transcends. And if you allow martial arts films under the broad umbrella of 'action', a load of Shaw Brothers films transcend. Aliens is just this really well oiled machine that's a bunch of fun. But I also find it kind of emotionally empty and visually somewhat ugly (even though I'm sure many could argue well against my general feelings on these particulars)

But, yeah, if someone wants to have a go at arguing Aliens as being something better than I see it, i won't stop them.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:56 am

Always Shine - 7.5/10

I wish there were some kind of way to modify the Bechdel test to account for films involving adult female relationships that resort to Persona contrivances. Sometimes I feel like a hack going back to Bergman's template of the conditionally compromised psyche exercises, as if all of the enigmas of female association can be reduced to this formula. But the sad fact is that a lot of films, even here some 50 years later, still rely on this formulaic complication.

Which is a shame, because this film is quite strong in its primary performances and the scripting, at least, for the first half. The doppleganger gambit remains almost immediately obvious, and ultimately doesn't pay off as much as it should for a film purporting to be a thriller.

Part of my interest in watching this was that director Sophia Takal is directing the latest unwelcomed Black Christmas remake due out this year. Stylistically, there's plenty of promise, and at least it will be written by women this time, but I need more than this to sway me.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:31 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:18 pm
Aliens can't hold Alien's blankstrap.

Cameron's film is a really great actioner but I don't think it feels like anything more than that. Alien exists in its own beautiful world. It has poetry.

One could be argued to be considered one of the great films of all time. The other is simply one of the greatest action films of the 80s.
Boo! Crumb is the Burke of this Alien/Aliens discussion.

I've seen Aliens way more times but Alien is definifely (but ever so slightly) the better movie. Can we all agree that Burke is the worst though?
The guy spends the whole movie doing nothing but talk about the bottom line and then betrays everybody at the end. At least when Ash turned out to be a robot psychopath, it was unexpected.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:14 am

I watched Joker and here are my thoughts:
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:15 am

Rock wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:31 am
Boo! Crumb is the Burke of this Alien/Aliens discussion.

I've seen Aliens way more times but Alien is definifely (but ever so slightly) the better movie. Can we all agree that Burke is the worst though?
The guy spends the whole movie doing nothing but talk about the bottom line and then betrays everybody at the end. At least when Ash turned out to be a robot psychopath, it was unexpected.
The "reveal" that Bishop was a decent guy the whole time was nice, tho. Played quietly.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:20 am

Rock wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:31 am
Boo! Crumb is the Burke of this Alien/Aliens discussion.

I've seen Aliens way more times but Alien is definifely (but ever so slightly) the better movie. Can we all agree that Burke is the worst though?
The guy spends the whole movie doing nothing but talk about the bottom line and then betrays everybody at the end. At least when Ash turned out to be a robot psychopath, it was unexpected.
I've been called a lot of terrible things in my life, but Burke really takes the cake.

*slow clap*
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:23 am

DaMU wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:15 am
The "reveal" that Bishop was a decent guy the whole time was nice, tho. Played quietly.
Agreed.

I even like how the movie "redeems" Gorman,
who chokes at the first encounter but goes out courageously.
I was thinking of his arc after seeing Ad Astra, where the exact opposite happened with the other captain.
The guy starts off a coward, completely chokes when he has to act so Brad Pitt saves his ass, and then when he finally does act, he makes a call so bad that he gets his entire crew killed.

Definitely not the Gorman of the Bradverse.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:29 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:18 pm
Aliens can't hold Alien's blankstrap.

Cameron's film is a really great actioner but I don't think it feels like anything more than that. Alien exists in its own beautiful world. It has poetry.

One could be argued to be considered one of the great films of all time. The other is simply one of the greatest action films of the 80s.
I'm more or less inclined to agree with you. And I got in more than one argument to that effect over on RT over the years.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:33 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:55 am
But absent what? All of the other conceivable ways in which she can assail those in other systems? Again, as you said, the theme of empowerment is based in her choice. By this admission, both choices are evil in some capacity. So what's innocence? I would say that the most innocent person in the film is the infant.
Is religion to blame for its misfortune? It seems that the ways the film mocks the religion/hypocrisy of the family are in how they respond to this initial evil. But given an optimally ethical and egalitarian family, the baby be bouillabaisse either way. It seems like a weird moral contrast to draw, which is why I dismiss an intended moral contrast here.
I would argue that in an egalitarian family,
they wouldn't be alone in the woods in the first place because clearly they weren't the ones who wanted to leave the village.
And I wouldn't say that both choices are evil.
One involves being willing to submit and the other involves using your power to dominate. Just because I *understand* her choice in the end--and the way that she was driven to it through the actions of her parents--it doesn't mean I see it as some sort of happy ending/liberation.
But that also dilutes the specific religious critique. What's being mocked are more fundamental failings of human nature - pride, lying, judgment - classic stuff. Zealotry and selfish piety can be evident in every religion and ideology. Some feminists may even fall into these categories on rare, extreme occasions.
I mainly see the critique as being of
any kind of system in which one person is giving authority--in this case patriarchal authority--over others, and yet does not live up to the responsibilities that come with that power.

In this case--and historically speaking--witches in the new world were up against Christianity. I'm not bothered by the lack of a specific religious critique. I see it as more the father who is the one being criticized and by extension the numerous other men who were given unilateral power over their families and did not live up to that responsibility. The one-two hit of someone being in charge of your whole life AND that person being kind of a selfish, prideful dope is what pushes someone like Thomasin to an extreme.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:34 am

Wooley wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:29 am
I'm more or less inclined to agree with you. And I got in more than one argument to that effect over on RT over the years.
I don't even know how one argues against it.

Alien is just so obviously superior, completely regardless of how good Aliens might be on its own terms.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:47 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:14 am
I watched Joker and here are my thoughts:
Nice.
(As an aside, Hoffman and Oldman are the same generation as Phoenix? I feel like Hoffman is of a much older generation (Midnight Cowboy was in '69) than any of them and Oldman and Lewis are more or less contemporaries, Phoenix coming well after either of them were already established in the 80s and 90s. I would maybe submit DiCaprio, Norton, and Damon as being more Phoenix's generation.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:47 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:34 am
I don't even know how one argues against it.

Alien is just so obviously superior, completely regardless of how good Aliens might be on its own terms.
Agreed.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:59 am

Wooley wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:47 am
Nice.
(As an aside, Hoffman and Oldman are the same generation as Phoenix? I feel like Hoffman is of a much older generation (Midnight Cowboy was in '69) than any of them and Oldman and Lewis are more or less contemporaries, Phoenix coming well after either of them were already established in the 80s and 90s. I would maybe submit DiCaprio, Norton, and Damon as being more Phoenix's generation.)
Was referring to Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's dead but still held in high regard.

I feel like Oldman, Lewis and Phoenix can be lumped in together as they all primarily rose to fame in the 90's and began really getting accolades in the late 90's/early 2000's.

Also, as much as I love DiCaprio, Norton and Damon, I don't think they're in the same league.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:18 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:59 am
Was referring to Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's dead but still held in high regard.

I feel like Oldman, Lewis and Phoenix can be lumped in together as they all primarily rose to fame in the 90's and began really getting accolades in the late 90's/early 2000's.

Also, as much as I love DiCaprio, Norton and Damon, I don't think they're in the same league.
Oh, I forgot about PSH.
Yeah, I wouldn't wanna split hairs with you, I just feel like Phoenix was established in 2000 with Gladiator by which time Oldman and Lewis had been established for over a decade. I would consider those others I mentioned his contemporaries and I agree he is more talented than they are, probably a generational talent.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:24 am

Anybody else kind of annoyed by how the internet has already made up its mind about Joker?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:36 am

Wooley wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:18 am
Oh, I forgot about PSH.
Yeah, I wouldn't wanna split hairs with you, I just feel like Phoenix was established in 2000 with Gladiator by which time Oldman and Lewis had been established for over a decade. I would consider those others I mentioned his contemporaries and I agree he is more talented than they are, probably a generational talent.
They’re definitely older than Phoenix and My Left Foot was older than I remembered but I feel like their careers both hit their strides in the 90’s as Phoenix was... rising.

Then again, I find generations fairly nebulous in general. What is the cut off? I’ve seen Hoffman listed as a contemporary of Lewis and Oldman but his trajectory even more closely aligned with Phoenix. He’s definitely a contemporary of those you mentioned but I suppose if we only count those, a more accurate statement is that Phoenix simply is the best of his generation, at least among English speaking men.
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