Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2655 on: November 24, 2007, 01:52:00 PM »

Oilcan, after reading NCfOM, I could have predicted that any film from it would be intensely brutal and fairly grim in its outlook.  I've sort of been dragging my feet about seeing it, for that reason.  If I hadn't recently seen Eastern Promises and American Gangster, maybe I wouldn't feel quite so glutted on blood.

It's not even the blood, really, but rather the emotional impact (or whatever you call it) that makes watching the movie like getting punched in the stomach or something.
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madupont
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« Reply #2656 on: November 24, 2007, 08:49:55 PM »

Well, buck up old man.

Oilcanboyd23, I've just seen    Das Leben Der Anderen. A bit late, I concede; I was amazed that it appeared so soon on comcast but I guess there are enough German speakers in this area with enough language for the film to click and make them gasp.

It is ultimately the best made film, no, take that back, not "made", the best film I've seen with the exception of a few Clooney's making their simultaneous run then and now, set in their own place and time, but this one -- I hate to tell you, this is home, real heimlichkeit. I did not finish reading all 70 reviews or whatever, after finding that I agree with the reviewing public from  everywhere they have posted about the positive points and I don't agree at all with their negatives.

And,yes, it is a shock after the final scene, with the finally smiling face of Ulrich Muehe, to get that he was that theatre person who went through this trip and died because of what it did to him.  He was allowed by fate to leave a record that he had become such a finely honed actor despite simultaneous endurance of the shame.

I was going to say something about that to jbottle last night in regard to Ingmar Bergman but it was in the wee hours so I blew it. With I.B. you can start with history, or you can start with psychology; but, fortunately for us, we were given both in alternate doses to see what we were that made us become what we are.

Likely, von Donnersmarck will not tell the majority of us what we are. But I recognize everybody in that film.

How  old do you think those guys were, other than Ulrich Muehe that is? Would it freak you out if I told you they were between their mid-Thirties and mid to late Forties, but I am not speaking of the artists being spied upon and repressed. They were probably of a similar age but their wardrobe also gives them away, they --the writers also look like people I have known.

The guy that Dreyman fights with at his birthday party?  Man, he was a guy I knew who had four girl-friends to keep him hopping, his poems were not memorable.He is accompanied by another stock poet the day that they come from the funeral; the Marxian persona without a suit.

What did you think of the furnishings, on the night of the birthday party as the actress,Christa-Maria Sieland gets ready to welcome her guests for the sake of Georg Dreyman(you do know how to pronounce Ge-org, don't you?)

But really the costume department, although I believe Ulrich himself knew exactly what he was to wear from start to finish, is so real I can hardly explain it, the German urge of the ordinary man to wear a uniform. These are standard issue, available at every store where Germans have settled. They come in those drab or indistinguishable tones of gray-green, dirty light blue with a contrast, and they are worn on your trip to the factory each day, or night. One of the ambitions in life is to become a public transit driver with an official uniform in gray with a peaked officer's cap.  The pigs who sit behind their desks, and cigar smokers all, seldom are chauffeur driven but this little touch tells you how far gone the great pretense had done to eliminate class-differentiation in the DDR. We made too big a thing in the US about the make and model of car for that to have been forgone as conspicuous consumption.

But Ulrich Muehe's wardrobe is so good,that soupcon of "someday we will be in space", I call it the science fiction wardrobe, which is also worn to bed. Of course, they are wearing the clothes of an earlier period because that is all that is available for the duration. Do not mistake however, as customary among the American public here in the West that was, uniform behavior and class-distinction and discrimination (nor protocol) does not vary  when one becomes a party member right or left.

I  think it is really great to see this film "now", 18 years later, when we have been indulging in peculiar behavior of the same sort.

And that bar-room, I was there once eatting lieberknoedle soup with parsley floating on the top; but the drinking is considerably the hard quantity necessitated by oppression. Mr. Muehe is like theatre persons, I have known and many others like him around every corner in small German-American cities populated by Germans of evey persuasion . Dies hier anders (as well).
« Last Edit: November 25, 2007, 12:41:02 AM by madupont » Logged
jbottle
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« Reply #2657 on: November 25, 2007, 07:49:38 PM »

Looks like NCFOM is a box-office bust, I would like to spin it because I love the Coen Bros., but it did an $8M, only $2M above, the Cruise/Redford/Streep/Wagner debacle LFL a couple of weeks early.  I note this despairingly, because I wanted it to do well but the subject matter is difficult and I'm not sure a Thanksgiving release date (and I am considering the overall release strategy anew) was the best timing.  It seems like everyone does nothing and a lot of it that weekend, including not going to a potentially depressing (according to an ordinary assessment) but certainly violent film. 

Equally vexing is the films Oscar prospect(s) now that it may be considered a box-office failure, usually critical acclaim and dough go hand-in-hand, so we'll see...

I still haven't seen the film but maybe a matinee this week will open up...
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2658 on: November 25, 2007, 07:55:49 PM »

Looks like NCFOM is a box-office bust...

I've seen it twice - first time was 11 AM on Wednesday (about 20 people there) and second time was 4:40 on Friday (packed house).  On both occasions, at the end of the movie when it cuts to black and credits roll, I clapped.  On both occasions, my hands hit each other 4 times before it was painfully obvious that no one else was going to join in with any applause whatsoever, so I had to stop clapping.

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harrie
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« Reply #2659 on: November 25, 2007, 08:06:29 PM »

Equally vexing is the films Oscar prospect(s) now that it may be considered a box-office failure, usually critical acclaim and dough go hand-in-hand, so we'll see...

Every review I've read -- and that's a bunch -- has raved about NCfOM, though; so maybe the money will follow.  Or maybe just the awards will.  I may agree with the Thanksgiving weekend film hell thing.  Is this traditionally a good weekend for movies, besides the five-day long weekend factor?   I know around here it's all about the shopping and football. 

In fact, to get to the (sort of) local theater showing NCfOM, I'd have to go two towns away, through/across a Shopping Hell area (Route 1 in Milford/Orange), and that was incentive enough to put it off for maybe a weeknight or non-holiday weekday off or something.  I wouldn't write the flick off yet.  At least I hope it's not time to do so.
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jbottle
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« Reply #2660 on: November 25, 2007, 10:15:23 PM »

"I know around here it's all about the shopping and football."

If "around here" is America, then you're square on...but if you take your statement a step further, then one tends to draw (pardon my sexyisticism) the conclusion that the women tend to go shopping while the men watch football, the first of which leads women (who would never collectively agree to go see a Cormac McCarthy/Coen film if more than two...) away from the theater and the men toward the television.  Tryptophan and the the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest account for much of the story, regrettably.

But it may be something connecting LFL, which had star power but was critically tepid, and NCFOM, which has no star power (other than Jones) and is obviously incredibly violent, which is that they both bring up uncomfortable subjects such as global politics and cruelty that people have been successfully avoiding for many years now, like the idea that we're not really at war, like there is no shared sacrifice, like when George Bush said "they should go shopping," and I'm not talking about your words, harrie, but yeah, I think that's what people do. 

You would like for people to unflinchingly go into a work of cinematic genius, and you would like them to flinch at war based on bad intelligence, but everybody wants to know about the friday that puts them in the black, the soulless creature on the third wall of Best Buy waiting for the deal on the Toshiba 46", you know, one of us...

I didn't go see NCFOM either, and mostly because I was lazy and watching football and babies (I don't change diapers and only drink beer before you think 'awww'), while women shopped, but I thought or hoped that like, the kids, would be all about the Coens, but, if you are in marketing you have to think about the big picture, like you say, football and shopping.

I would never venture into the void of shopping hell which my people were going to..."Bannana Republic...the whole store...I mean, the WHOLE STORE...was 40% off..."

"How much did you spend?"

"$250.00"

"Whoa, you know that when they say 'sale' it's a marketing device, right??"

"We got some good deals....."  [angry]

"Okay, yeah, no, right, no, so you got some shopping done??"

   
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barton
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« Reply #2661 on: November 26, 2007, 10:31:10 AM »

I'd jam my toenails in my eyes before I'd consider shopping right after Tgiving.  The only consumer item that tempts, and it's not much on sale, is one of these new Internet Tablets, which Nokia makes a couple models, which looks to be a good device when you just want something to go online in a hotspot, and don't want to lug around a laptop.  I think they've finally hit that zone between palmtop and laptop.

"The New World" made a pretty good Tgiving film -- probably the best film of 2005, astounding visual artistry and sets, and a stunning debut by the Quechua girl whose name escapes me and I couldn't spell it anyway.

I'll probably recant my "no mo blood" thing and drag my ass to NCFOM -- can't let a Coen bro film go unseen, y'know.

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"History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes."
oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2662 on: November 26, 2007, 10:41:38 AM »

I'll probably recant my "no mo blood" thing and drag my ass to NCFOM -- can't let a Coen bro film go unseen, y'know.

NCFOM packs a wallop, and it's not the blood that hits you.  I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying the TLJ narration really facilitates the wallop (that's been said in many reviews), and the ending will leave you in a daze. 

I read the book twice, so I knew how the story ends, but seeing it handled so perfectly was impressive and really added to the whole "feeling of devastation" thing.
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madupont
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« Reply #2663 on: November 26, 2007, 12:01:19 PM »

Harrie,re:#2682  "Is this traditionally a good weekend for movies,"

You'd better believe it. At least it was in the days before we were totally responsible for the production of the Thanksgiving Dinner. Same goes for Christmas, no matter how badly affected our relationship with one or the other parent whose idea about the religious nature of the day ruled out other options. Holidays were then old-fashioned enough to be about Family. Immediate, at least.

So the sheer notion that we would spring out of the house into a car and go on a date to the movies was a big concession to youth or our pre-marital status.

The biggest change between then and now is none of the above but the pursuit of what jbottle mentioned,"...like there is no shared sacrifice, like when George Bush said "they should go shopping,"; that alone can take your mind off the concept of endless war.

And jbottle, that war was not only based on bad intelligence but downright rotten intelligence; not only skewed but made up out of whole cloth.

Why shopping does the trick better than movies for letting a war slip the collective mind --as you noticed George  Bush did not encourage you to spend money at the movies, treat all your friends,etc.--the administration hadn't prepared any meanful defense again the Industry as an art form, other than inventing the new use of the word,"Liberal" to apply to all film artists who let it be known in no time that they were obviously opposed to the "neo-con".

Unfortunately, it was the one L word in the vocabulary that became over-worked by forum posters generated from the new "red" states of mind. It now designates a totally meaningless concept.
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jbottle
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« Reply #2664 on: November 26, 2007, 02:27:11 PM »

Oil:  Are there multiple narrators?  Curious about how the story is told...and do you have a renewed respect for Tommy Lee Jones?  And what of Bardem and Brolin, I had suspected Brolin was capable of more than he has been dealt so far and I remember you saying you were hesitant.  I liked him in "Nightwatch" and "Mimic" and especially as the antagonist in the big boat in the throwaway "Into the Blue," where he showed a sense of humor and is aging into a more weathered handsomeness that is more expressive than when he did "Nightwatch" and "Mimic" and kind of walked around and talked well enough.

Got about halfway through "1408" last night and like "The Shining" and much of King's work it seems informed by alcoholic or drug-induced and isolation-induced psychosis, in "The Shining" the snow is literally keeping him indoors and in 1408 there is some question about whether he is holed up in a room with a bottle and imprisoned by demons that won't let him out, like being agoraphobic and asocial and "working"/"drinking."  I'm curious about the conclusion but I think it's kind of funny when you look any King movie coming from a guy who claims not to have remembered writing "Cujo" from being drunk and onblow.
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2665 on: November 26, 2007, 02:52:52 PM »

Oil:  Are there multiple narrators?  Curious about how the story is told...and do you have a renewed respect for Tommy Lee Jones? 

TLJ is the only narrator, and it's not really narration in the sense of "darkness warshed over the Dude..." or whatever, but rather more like in "The Thin Red Line" or whatever, where the "narrator" just kind of talks about things, etc.

I always liked TLJ (how can you not?), but it's tough to get around the charge that most of the time he's just "playing himself" or whatever.  In NCFOM, he is most certainly not just playing himself.  He tinkers with his accent to get the whole Texas thing going, for one thing.  But beyond that, his responsibility (as an actor) is to carry the theme of the book and thus the movie, the whole "there's no stopping what's coming, the dismal tide, etc.," much of which is conveyed with the narration, and even more of which is conveyed in his eyes as he tries to catch up with Moss (Brolin) to protect him, and in doing so keeps encountering the carnage done by Moss' pursuers.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2007, 02:54:33 PM by oilcanboyd23 » Logged
madupont
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« Reply #2666 on: November 26, 2007, 03:15:51 PM »

oilcanboyd23

"He tinkers with his accent to get the whole Texas thing going, for one thing."

I think Donotremove has mentioned a few times that there are several Texas accents. (It's a large place)

In any case Tommy Lee Jones is likewise a Texan but I do not doubt for a minute that he would tinker to convey the character he had in mind. Possibly the way that he read the book.

I watched the trailers provided on-line the other morning and I opened on that monologue, which he may or may not be addressing to Brolin as they go out to the scene and he explains that he's been doing this since he was 25 years old and took over for his daddy before him.  It is a monologue when they cut it into the visual of him walking along taking Bardem into custody which is shot from behind them. They use this in the trailer as a lead in to the approach of Brolin and Jones to the vantage point above the bodies around the truck below them.
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2667 on: November 26, 2007, 03:29:29 PM »

And what of Bardem and Brolin, I had suspected Brolin was capable of more than he has been dealt so far and I remember you saying you were hesitant.  I liked him in "Nightwatch" and "Mimic" and especially as the antagonist in the big boat in the throwaway "Into the Blue," where he showed a sense of humor and is aging into a more weathered handsomeness that is more expressive than when he did "Nightwatch" and "Mimic" and kind of walked around and talked well enough.


In the book, Moss has a sense of humor that I didn't think could translate to the screen, especially by Brolin, about whom I was neither here nor there re: his casting.  In the book he doesn't narrate, but McCarthy writes his thoughts so you get a feel for his humor, with most of the jokes based on the whole "I can't believe how stupid I am - I can't believe what a horrible situation I've gotten myself into" notion.

In one such joke in the book, he thinks to himself, yeah, I guess now I've got to call my brother in California, who I haven't spoken to in 6 years, and tell him yeah, there are some men who are going to come to your house and put your balls in a vice until you tell them where I am, and since you don't know where I am and haven't spoken to me in 6 years, then after they're done crushing your balls, they'll just kill you and your whole family...

It's not in "quotes" or anything, but it's just Moss' thoughts - I guess that's just McCarthy's style, to write different characters' thoughts without quotation marks.

Anyways, the above "thoughts" were left out of the movie, as were a lot of little things in the book, so I don't even know why I told that story, other than to describe Moss' morbid sense of humor about his own situation.    That said, Brolin did a very good job conveying that sense of humor, which is important, because if Sheriff Bell (TLJ) symbolizes our hope for the survival of humanity, and Chigurh (Bardem) is the dismal tide, then Moss is humanity itself.  

I'm rambling, I know... bottom line = Brolin does a great job in an important part that doesn't require a lot of range (i.e., he's never really happy or sad - just weary from running) but nevertheless requires some skillful acting, particularly in converying the humor.
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jbottle
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« Reply #2668 on: November 26, 2007, 10:36:19 PM »

I like the character triangle, it reminds me a little of "One False Move" where you have evil moving toward Sheriff Dale Dixon, hardened LA Cops who know the profiles of cold-blooded killers and thieves, and Dale, of course.  It's not a direct parallel, and I imagine that the dramatic irony is not exactly the same because Moss is more informed and aware from what you say, than Dale, but still.  I don't know what happens in NCFOM, but I've got a pretty good idea that nobody lives, whereas in OFM you have Dale having to rise to the occasion, and some ambiguity at the end, where he is damaged bad at best, not a bad representation of "humanity," I reckon.  You also have the role of sex, and race, loyalty, and deception that keeps the force that could handle the malevolence at bay.....but anyway, sounds like an interesting dynamic.
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #2669 on: November 26, 2007, 11:07:44 PM »

It's not a direct parallel, and I imagine that the dramatic irony is not exactly the same because Moss is more informed and aware from what you say, than Dale, but still. 
   


"One False Move" *** SPOILER ***

Dale's culpability isn't revealed until later in the movie, when he sees the picture of Fantasia* from the convenience store camera ("Shay's too yuuungferyoooBayull..."), whereas Moss' is right from the get-go.  "One False Move" is my 10th favorite movie ever, so any whiff of that movie is fine by me, but I didn't get a OFM thing from NCFOM.  I think of Moss more like a noir protagonist, like Tom Reagan without the smarts (with Bardem as The Dane) in terms of he just gets beaten up the whole time trying to stay afloat in this situation he's created.

---


* Which, as it would happen, was right after the great scene in the restaurant that I've rambled about as much as I have "Ravenous".  The difficult silence after "Dud, I didn't mean to put you on the spot out there," and John goes, "Dale, we didn't mean-" and then Dale's walkie-talkie chirps, and he says, "Welp, that's us" real quick, etc.  Right after that they went to Dale's office and looked at the picture or the girl, and right away Dale recognized her and the whole relationship with Dud and John changed.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2007, 11:12:46 PM by oilcanboyd23 » Logged
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