Author Topic: Resurrecting the Movies thread...  (Read 537516 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #370 on: November 05, 2007, 12:41:38 pm »
Your reaction is interesting because it is at 92% on rottentomatoes and it appears that most of the critics are raving about it.

One explanation might be that critics rarely seem to see bleakness as a fault. Sometimes I think they even see it as a virtue. Most of the bleak movies that led me to swear off bleak movies were critically acclaimed -- and rightly so, because bleakness aside they were very well-made movies (other examples that come to mind include Platoon, Blue Velvet and the bleakest movie I've seen, Leaving Las Vegas.).

I can think of others that critics liked but that I avoided because I could tell just by the reviews they'd be too bleak for me (The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover, any movie directed by Todd Solondz ...).

(Oh, reading back just now I see that oilgun also called the movie other things you'd think critics would object to, such as disjointed, predictable and manipulative. Well, maybe it was so nice and bleak that the critics were willing to overlook these problems)



Offline notBastet

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #371 on: November 05, 2007, 01:24:14 pm »
I saw INTO THE WILD last night. The breathtaking scenery reminded me of Brokeback Mountain.  The film is based on the nonfiction bestseller of a young man who gave away his life savings to embrace nature. He also left his family behind without a note or explanation. As far as they were concerned, he had just vanished.

He journeys all over America, (staying away from cities) and the film is a recollection of his adventures and some of the ppl he met along the way.  He ended up in Alaska, living in a bus, wanting to live in the wild.  Well you can't get a place with more wilderness then Alaska.  It had been his lifelong ambition, the great trek to Alaska

The film was quite well acted, directed by Sean Penn.  I'm not going to spoil the ending, though everyone I know seems to know how it turns out.  He kept a journal referencing Tolstoy and Thoreau.  He had many interesting philosophical insights.

I'm surprised the film has not been released in more theaters (only 600) as it should be a box office hit. The book and his story are quite well know.

I saw this a week or two ago.  I was pretty impressed.  It was a good experience for me.
“It can be a little distressing to have to overintellectualize yourself” - Heath Ledger

Offline oilgun

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #372 on: November 05, 2007, 06:34:00 pm »
Your reaction is interesting because it is at 92% on rottentomatoes and it appears that most of the critics are raving about it.

L

Wow, 92%!?  I think it's the first time that my opinion of a film differs so drastically from the majority of critics!  I really don't know what to say, except that I guess I just couldn't buy into the story.  It's hard to say more without revealing important plot points.  I did enjoy the story's setup and the acting was fine but then something happened, and I can't really pin-point exactly what it was, but I started losing my suspension of disbelief, and when one of the characters stormed into the bar with a Popeye mask, that really sealed the deal for me.

Oh well, you win some and you lose some.  I'm over it now, I had the day off so I went to see Ang's Lust, Caution and REALLY enjoyed it!  Although I do feel a bit cheated.  Why couldn't the sex have been as graphic in BbM? LOL!

« Last Edit: November 18, 2007, 05:47:55 pm by oilgun »

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #373 on: November 05, 2007, 07:40:26 pm »
There's a piece on Slate about Gone, Baby, Gone that's semi-critical. Here's an excerpt:

Quote
Ben Affleck's Boston
His portrait of the city is far from perfect—but at least it's not wicked bad.
By Patrick Radden Keefe

... Affleck's movie feels more grounded in the specific geography of Boston than any other major Hollywood production ever has. And more populated by real Bostonians. But in striving to capture Boston in all its sordid glory, Affleck overapplies the grit. The problem struck me in an early scene in which the camera lingers on a gaggle of daytime boozers, and I swear, more than one of them has a cleft lip. In an effort to cast aside the Hollywood airbrush, Affleck has zoomed in on the freakish underbelly of Boston and somewhat overstated the case. The result is not so much what Mean Streets did for New York as what Deliverance did for Appalachia.

"I wanted something raw and authentic and even a little scuffed up," Affleck told the New York Times recently. For much of the movie, half of Dorchester seems to be standing around outside their creaky wooden houses, just killing time. But as the camera pushes in on dozens of extras—sickly skinny women and gin-blossomed men with complexions like blood sausage—"scuffed up" begins to feel positively generous. At a certain point, the parade of uglies marches past verisimilitude and into freak-show territory. This isn't actually what the people of Dorchester look like. Yes, you can walk into a Dorchester bar and find a healthy crowd at 11 a.m. on a weekday. But give the barflies cleft lips, and you're overdoing it a bit. It's Dorchester by way of Diane Arbus. (continues ...)



Here's the whole piece:

http://www.slate.com/id/2176404/



Offline Lynne

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #374 on: November 06, 2007, 01:52:22 am »
Oilgun - will you elaborate a bit on in what ways you felt manipulated by Gone, Baby, Gone?  It's interesting to me how people's opinions differ.  I liked GBG alot, but I was watching it from a couple of specific points-of-view.  I was particularly interested in how well the adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel was done, the Boston characterization, Casey's performance, and Ben's direction.  I read the novel years ago, and it kept me guessing until the very end.  So knowing where the movie was going, assuming the original plot survives (and it does), I wasn't in a place to feel manipulated.

I'm not so sure I agree with the reviewer about Dorchester being portrayed as overly gritty.  Some of Dorchester is being revitalized and it's not as bad as it used to be, so I think this is probably a good representation of 1990's Dorcester.  However, I didn't notice let alone count cleft lips, so I may need a repeat viewing.  ;)  I do know that they really toned down the violent tendencies of Patrick Kenzie's friend, Bubba, compared to his character in the novel.

Crayons - glad you enjoyed Michael Clayton:)

I think American Gangster is next on my list...
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Offline notBastet

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #375 on: November 06, 2007, 04:09:43 pm »
I watched the Pursuit of Happyness this afternoon.  I thought Will Smith's portrayal was fine... but there were aspects of the movie (what I considered to be basic premise type issues...) that I didn't like at all...

spoilers:




I guess maybe I am too much of a "what if" person...  It all worked out for him... but what if it hadn't, then it really wasn't such a bright idea to take an unpaid internship while you had a child to feed.  And great that the guy gave him his $5 back... but is that a good message - work your ass off, do what the man wants, and if you're lucky the man will give you a job and your $5 back?  don't know.  but I was suprised to see all the good reviews.
“It can be a little distressing to have to overintellectualize yourself” - Heath Ledger

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #376 on: November 06, 2007, 05:55:31 pm »
I guess maybe I am too much of a "what if" person...  It all worked out for him... but what if it hadn't, then it really wasn't such a bright idea to take an unpaid internship while you had a child to feed.  And great that the guy gave him his $5 back... but is that a good message - work your ass off, do what the man wants, and if you're lucky the man will give you a job and your $5 back?  don't know.  but I was suprised to see all the good reviews.

I see what you're saying. And probably in many or most cases it would not have ended "happyly." But the guy Will Smith plays is a real-life person. So I suppose you could say that filmmakers, looking back with 20/20 hindsight, wouldn't have wanted to make a movie about someone who tried that and failed and wound up permanently homeless. But it does make sense to make a movie about a millionaire who once was homeless and took a big risk and succeeded.

Offline oilgun

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #377 on: November 06, 2007, 09:08:02 pm »
Oilgun - will you elaborate a bit on in what ways you felt manipulated by Gone, Baby, Gone?  It's interesting to me how people's opinions differ.  I liked GBG alot, but I was watching it from a couple of specific points-of-view.  I was particularly interested in how well the adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel was done, the Boston characterization, Casey's performance, and Ben's direction.  I read the novel years ago, and it kept me guessing until the very end.  So knowing where the movie was going, assuming the original plot survives (and it does), I wasn't in a place to feel manipulated.

I'm not so sure I agree with the reviewer about Dorchester being portrayed as overly gritty.  Some of Dorchester is being revitalized and it's not as bad as it used to be, so I think this is probably a good representation of 1990's Dorcester.  However, I didn't notice let alone count cleft lips, so I may need a repeat viewing.  ;)  I do know that they really toned down the violent tendencies of Patrick Kenzie's friend, Bubba, compared to his character in the novel.


Thanks for asking, Lynn.  First offl, I have to explain that I saw the film cold, as they say.  I'm not familiar with the novel, I just found out that Lehane also wrote Mystic River.  I hadn't read any reviews but knew that it had been very well received by critics.   I went to see it mainly for Casey Affleck, I've had a bit of thing for him ever since seeing him in Gerry.  (Yeah, I loved that film, go figure, lol!)

Like I said previously I started off quite enjoying it.  The "colourful" characters were a hoot and some of the dialogue was laugh-out-loud funny. But  the all-pervasive "scuzzyness" became too much, it never let up!  The characters started to feel cartoonish rather than human.  The result was that I didn't care what happened to any of the characters, so anything I had invested into the story went out the window.  It felt like I was being manipulated into hating these one dimensional characters and I found that a bit insulting (OK, I get it Ben, these people are lowlifes! Sheesh!)

I did like Bubba though, he was pretty cool.  Probably the only one who tried to help.  Him and that guy at Murphy's Law who told Patrick about Helene & Skinny Ray. Oh, I did feel bad for Cheese, the poor guy really got screwed, lol!

Maybe I was just pissed off because the movie ruined my Lars high. ;)

Edit:  I just remembered I had a similar, albeat much less intense, reaction to the movie Pan's Labyrinth.   In that film, I didn't like how the fascist step-father was so completely evil.  If he had had a dog I'm sure he would have kicked it.  I understand that it was supposed to be a fairy tale and he was the evil step-father and all that, but the fact that he was so easily despised somehow made me lose interest in the story.   It severed my emotional connection.  I was still able to enjoy the film thematically and especially visually but I didn't buy the dvd... :-\
« Last Edit: November 07, 2007, 10:07:49 pm by oilgun »

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #378 on: November 06, 2007, 09:48:39 pm »
Oilgun, you saw Gerry?? You're one of only two people in the world I know who has seen it! I thought it was both one of the most boring and one of the most interesting movies I've ever seen.

For those who haven't seen it, Gerry is directed by Gus Van Sant, stars Casey Affleck and Matt Damon, and is about two guys who get lost in the desert. They always call each other Gerry. They also use "gerry" as a verb, meaning "screw up." The whole movie is about watching them wander around trying to find their way out of the desert, as they get weaker and weaker. There are numerous long long stretches, like 10 minutes or more, where the camera just follows them as they walk silently side by side. It's sort of an endurance test for the audience, as well. Compared to Gerry, BBM is positively chatty -- and what dialogue there is is almost all mundane small talk like you might hear between two guys who've been friends for a long time -- they talk about a video game, a Jeopardy episode, etc.

So this friend insisted that I see it. I had to call several video stores to track it down. Finally I watched it, and at the end I was like, huh? What was the big deal about this arty but incredibly boring movie?

Then my friend told me something he'd figured out about it. And that changed my whole attitude toward the movie. Suddenly it became really very interesting.

Shall I say what he told me? It's not really a spoiler, but it's something not everyone would figure out (I sure didn't).

(BTW, the friend who told me this was Clancy/TFMC/ruthlesslyunsentimental -- those who know him know he's good at analyzing movies.)


Offline oilgun

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #379 on: November 06, 2007, 09:57:13 pm »
Oilgun, you saw Gerry?? You're one of only two people in the world I know who has seen it! I thought it was both one of the most boring and one of the most interesting movies I've ever seen.

For those who haven't seen it, Gerry is directed by Gus Van Sant, stars Casey Affleck and Matt Damon, and is about two guys who get lost in the desert. They always call each other Gerry. They also use "gerry" as a verb, meaning "screw up." The whole movie is about watching them wander around trying to find their way out of the desert, as they get weaker and weaker. There are numerous long long stretches, like 10 minutes or more, where the camera just follows them as they walk silently side by side. It's sort of an endurance test for the audience, as well. Compared to Gerry, BBM is positively chatty -- and what dialogue there is is almost all mundane small talk like you might hear between two guys who've been friends for a long time -- they talk about a video game, a Jeopardy episode, etc.

So this friend insisted that I see it. I had to call several video stores to track it down. Finally I watched it, and at the end I was like, huh? What was the big deal about this arty but incredibly boring movie?

Then my friend told me something he'd figured out about it. And that changed my whole attitude toward the movie. Suddenly it became really very interesting.

Shall I say what he told me? It's not really a spoiler, but it's something not everyone would figure out (I sure didn't).

(BTW, the friend who told me this was Clancy/TFMC/ruthlesslyunsentimental -- those who know him know he's good at analyzing movies.)



Well, you can't just tease us like that!  Tell us!!   
I actually saw Gerry at the theatre, t played here for about a week, and it was absolutely mesmerizing on the big screen.