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Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Movies  (Read 40844 times)
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jbottle
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« Reply #3660 on: February 29, 2008, 10:42:20 PM »

Oil:  I got off your subject, but any filmmaker that thinks his story is "too personal" or can't be sold and told through a formula doesn't need to make a movie with anybody else's money and should keep it to himself in my opinion.  Sounds like you need a JOURNAL, pal, indie guy.  I get that some dramas are hard to sell, and if you don't have a gal and a gun you probably need to have a good way to set up jokes, which is why people diverge on movies such as "O.C. & Stiggs," "Ravenous," "H.E.A.L.T.H.," "Morvern Callar," "Fraternity Vacation," and "The Party Animal."  It's why people like "Forrest Gump" and hate "Freddy Got Fingered," one sucks and the other is a phenomenal work of post-modern genius.  It's why "Beastmaster" will always be loved by everyone, and why "Quintet" still makes people wonder WTF?? thirty years later.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3661 on: March 01, 2008, 12:48:10 AM »

Wow, Scott Tobias does use the term "spring break" in his review of "Morvern Callar" in "Cult Classics," but he fails to admit that it's a shitty spring break movie.  I was deeply disappointed by his lack of appreciation for the films failure to register a "party feeling" even while hitting all the major plot points of a routine spring breaker.  Nice try, Europe, with all that sad devolution of "girl breaks up with guy," no, he has to kill himself, thanks, Europe, even the nudity isn't gratuitous and the partying with the ritual abuse of drugs and alcohol and hotelsex has none of that "Party Hard" or "Time to Party" joie de vivre.  No, Mover Callar is a largely morose regurgitation of a proven Hollywood formula where "Panama" is substituted with a decidedly ambivalent and fatalistic driving rock soundtrack that seems to suggest that the frivolity of an impromptu road trip can only lead to a joyless spiral into an existental void of alienation and personal destruction.  Robbed of the exuberance of saving the beloved family run ski resort or ramshackle charming beachside motel from evil capitalist parasites, Morver Callar's denoument consists of her signing a book deal written by a dead guy and probably for no dough for Dokken to play her birthday party.  Trading a raucous celebration for the possibility of a grim future book-signing in small cafes and out of the way bookstores, "Morvern Callar" is a would-be millenial death knell to the joy of "beer, it's not just for breakfast anymore."  Again, thanks Tobias for donning that black turtleneck over the Budweiser muscle tee.  You sir, can thank Europe all day long, but I know deep in my iron beergut and boundless enthusiasm for mindless teen sex comedies, that I can say with only an iota of ennui that hey chick nice shot nice shot chick that is "Morver Callar," but it's going to take a harder partying movie to sink the American Battleship that is the Spring Break Comedy, and you "Morvern Callar," are nothing more than a slow boat to Bleakington, Europe.  You make me want to puke, in an American Spring Break movie where at least I get laid and the old man gets to keep the Motel for a few more years.  If you can't give your boyfriend a decent burial, what are you doing stabbing at the hard cold European ground with this existential mess as a shovel, in an attempt to bury a great American tradition.  Try again next time, Europe, the only reason you even get to hash on our good time is because we sent a bunch of badasses over to keep you from sprecken de Deuch break, you dig, bitch?  I am out.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 12:53:06 AM by jbottle » Logged
madupont
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« Reply #3662 on: March 01, 2008, 03:30:59 AM »

River Queen
In 19th century New Zealand an Irish colony lives in relative harmony with the Maori. Things become more complicated, though, when the Irish doctor's daughter Sarah (Samantha Morton) discovers she is pregnant by the Maori chief's son. When their child is kidnapped by the Maori, Sarah spends years searching for him and strikes a deal with a Maori warrior named Wiremu (Cliff Curtis) to find him in exchange for medical aid. This Wiremu does, and Sarah now finds herself torn between her growing love for Wiremu and the affections of a soldier (Kiefer Sutherland) back in the Irish colony. There are shades of epic glory here, and Morton is a true force, but largely River Queen remains emotionally distant and unengaging.
15, 114 mins                                (and that's a British review! If she says it is "emotionally distant and unengaging", I have to believe her. Is that Romantic or what? No, it is Kiefer Sutherland perforce to play somewhat short of Mel Gibson roles, having failed to fill his father's shoes quite yet? Next,K.S.does Hamlet,right?)


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barton
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« Reply #3663 on: March 02, 2008, 01:58:30 PM »

I am still sick enough to stay away from films (I have an aversion to being that annoying dude who decided to go the movies with a loud hacking cough -- I'm not loud of voice, but my cough is shingle-loosening), so I sent my usual film companion off on her own to see There Will Be Blood.  She returned with enough ambivalence to....(struggling for the simile, here)....fill several Woody Allen movies (OK, not my best).  Apparently, DDL plays a really horrible human being, but does it really well, so one can potentially be torn between one's transport at watching actorial virtuosity and one's revulsion at the character.  Or something like that.     

BKRW looks like a hoot.  Ditto In Bruges, though I fear a Rule of Two sort of relationship (dark comedies about swilling hit men losing their edge) with that Ken Bingsley turkey (You Kill Me) last year.  At least this one has Brendan Gleeson and is generally saturated with Irishness, so perhaps will be the more authoritative statement on the matter.



 

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madupont
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« Reply #3664 on: March 02, 2008, 04:30:17 PM »

BARTON, I too have that cold but I think that I picked it up at one of those buffet smorgasbord routines so common in this part of Pa. and which is why i have been keeping weird hours on the forums and viewing my movies on tv rather than theater. Besides my special theater is giving in to a different taste level and the sharpest thing that I'd encounter would be Natalie Portman trading awfully authenticate dialog in The Other Boleyn Girl, with Scarlet Johansson. They are both wonderful actors but the dialog makes you expect Errol Flynn to show up.

Something of the kind happened in Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger, where the dialog was "generally saturated with Irishness" so, that you nearly miss the significance unless it is a scene between Naomi Watts and Heath Ledger.  Geoffrey Rush of course delivered but then he is English-Aussie and that's the point of the film isn't it(?) that the Brits were famously unkind to the Irish.

"Apparently, DDL plays a really horrible human being, but does it really well, so one can potentially be torn between one's transport at watching actorial virtuosity and one's revulsion at the character.  Or something like that." , seems to be the case, so after I saw it -- I really had to clarify  for myself and analyze the difference. Did I dislike Day-Lewis? No.  Did I dislike Plainview,his character? Initially, yes, but the consistency of the characterization in There Will Be Blood made my decision come down on the side of whom it was that Day-Lewis took on in taking this role which was true to the times in which Sinclair Lewis set the story,"Oil".   I still think those people's descendents are thoroughly despicable today, even if that period made them that way; which at the time was notoriously Code of the West, as I've said before.  It just is out of date for the times in which we live when carried through as an administration's policy in a global context.   Therefore i can not fault Day-Lewis for accurately portraying the character that he took on.

Ps. The last time that I got this sick was at the movies, for Broke-back Mountain, and it lasted four months, the over-all effects of being fuzzy and falling into a grocery cart on the way home from the theater.  Apparently, what ever I wrote during those four months was so alienating that my fellow posters decided to eliminate me from competing with their level of higher intellect, and within two months they had accused me of "...not reading books",(one of them, a shy new arrival at the time continues to villify me for that in this current forum, including cracks about her own family dynamics projected on me) -- so if I over-identify with the Daniel Day-Lewis  conundrum of, There Will Be Blood, so be it.   

Old Day-Lewis, himself was poet-Laureate, in advance of the man who ended up getting overly taughted for his Laurentian poems(when not following the classic Roman guidelines from the Greek) in what some call a "Poetry discussion" (non-fiction) that April by someone who had previously claimed to know more about, In Cold Blood" than anyone present who all claimed to be Edie Sedgwick wannabees. Suddenly a similar claim was made for his career as a  Flower-child poet in the 1960s, which allowed him to write scurrilous crap about a now dead poet laureate (not Day-Lewis).  Having perfected this technique, he continues to do so overall.But he used to raid the other forums, to the shock of a few moderators, with those same gifts that he displays presently and I was out of there, those other forums within two months.  I'm glad to have been informed that everybody else  quickly had the same fate but you know I still can't avail myself of some material as a result of the "mechanics" of the machinations that took place, which means I have to go to other sources when I want to reference something; because one moderator feared I had grounds.  That format for resorting to mechanically inactivating computer access is now down to the wire to be brought to a vote in Congress as a Republican overweening invasion of Constitutional rights.

I'm personally glad how well Patrick Thomas Anderson dealt with the adaptation of Sinclair Lewis material when making There Will Be Blood.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 02:40:18 AM by madupont » Logged
barton
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« Reply #3665 on: March 03, 2008, 01:03:52 PM »

Watched Hitchcock's "Rope" and enjoyed it, though could have seen casting someone other than Jimmy Stewart as the boy's old schoolmaster -- it seemed to call for a darkness and moral ambiguity I'm not sure he was quite up to -- maybe James Mason would have worked.  Still, even with that dent in it, it's one of the master's best and manages to dance with humor and irony all around it's central "maguffin" -- an old oak chest one might store...books in.  The camera work is stunning and show Hitch's craft in planning every shot with meticulous care. 

Madupont -- you do have to watch out for public food situations -- I'm leery of the sample tray in a supermarket.  People walk by, coughing and sneezing, touching with unwashed hands, and pretty soon it's a petri dish.  And there George Contanza's fearsome "double dipping."



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nytempsperdu
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« Reply #3666 on: March 05, 2008, 12:19:17 AM »

barton, I think Rope is fine Hitchcock, too, (Leopold & Loeb were models for the pair, I believe, have always wanted to find out more about the case) and I think Jimmy Stewart was fine in it, but then, I think he has plenty o' dark to draw upon, such as in Vertigo and Rear Window, and even in It's A Wonderful Life one can fear for his sanity (esp. upon seeing it the first time). 
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madupont
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« Reply #3667 on: March 05, 2008, 01:46:34 AM »

barton, I think Rope is fine Hitchcock, too, (Leopold & Loeb were models for the pair, I believe, have always wanted to find out more about the case) and I think Jimmy Stewart was fine in it, but then, I think he has plenty o' dark to draw upon, such as in Vertigo and Rear Window, and even in It's A Wonderful Life one can fear for his sanity (esp. upon seeing it the first time). 


"(Leopold & Loeb were models for the pair, I believe, have always wanted to find out more about the case)", could tell you all about it if you like as it is part of my family background; but it is much easier to read the book by what's his face from which they made the movie back in the days when I had a crush on the little boy-star who was the good looking one of the pair. Not Nathan Leopold but Dicky Loeb.
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madupont
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« Reply #3668 on: March 05, 2008, 03:19:12 AM »

nytempsperdu

"Compulson was "the first 'documentary' or 'non-fiction novel' ("a style later used in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song")."

I think that about says it all as far as the novel that I suggested.  At the time that the film was released and shown on tv, I had no idea of the relationship, nor did my two brothers watching it with me, probably on something like the Schlitz Saturday Night television movie Presents: Compulsion, by Meyer Levin.

I thought both actors Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman were  great troupers(I'd done just enough acting to know what they would be stuck with from then on); and, admittedly I had a crush on little Dean Stockwell ever since we were children. He's the classic example of the cute little boy who promises to be a quite handsome and talented man (just as MacCauley Caulkin who followed in his footsteps only to become distracted).  It is a fascinating film, particularly so because of the Darrow summation which I heard for the first time in the  Orson Welles delivery.  I don't think that I read the novel for at least another six years or perhaps longer. I looked at much more outside material about 17 years later, after I'd left the Midwest and was on the East Coast , because by then I know the background inside story and understood the setting in more reality from what had been passed on to me. 

I admit it was a surprise tonight, to learn for the first time in checking the title, that the author of the novel had gone to school with Nathan and Richard at the Univ.of Chicago,  They also hung out in Michigan and as frat boys of their day were much like what I observed around Princeton campus five  years after looking at the background material.

As far as crushes on actors go, Farley Granger had the same effect, the faintly hysterical,"sensitive" type of leading man which led nowhere when it did.  I saw, Rope, in those early days also but much preferred ,Strangers on a Train, the Patricia Highsmith story; then I would change my mind again and decide, no, Rope was where it was at, the tighter, more controlled drama. From thereafter, despite watching all that came and went, Hitchcock was from then on downhill all the way, His later forays never lived up to the earlier work.  What Welles picked up from him,  bit by bit, also flourished in the same film camera-work genre and then ceased to illuminate. I'd have to agree with  him that his better work was in Kafka's, The Trial, with actor Tony Perkins; and I wonder why I never can locate his own role of Cagliostro (the story of Joseph Balsamo). The latter is one of the more striking black and white films ever done for the uses of the alchemy of Light contrasting with darkness of emotions.
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harrie
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« Reply #3669 on: March 05, 2008, 07:22:25 PM »

So I saw Children of Men, which IIRC got lots of raves.  I can see why -- it was beautifully shot (beautiful meaning that it conveyed the mood of the scenes, not that everything was meadows and flowers - but the stark shots, of which there were many, were amazing in their starkness); the flick clipped along with very little wasted movement or information; and Clive Owen was actually not that bad.  Usually I have no use for Owen, but in this one he almost avoided the "scowl and mumble" acting technique; and at the times he was scowling and mumbling it was pretty much called for. 

But -- I felt beaten over the head with religious stuff, which for me took away from the enjoyment (again - if you can call that) of Children of Men.  Plus at the very ending, the name of the vessel that appears out of the fog (did I avoid spoiling, if that's applicable?) was just too, too much for my liking.  I felt like Buffy saying "okay, okay I get it." Sometimes I don't care for every litttle thing being spelled out in big letters, but maybe that's just me.

To watch  Children of Men, I took a pass on the original Sabrina; I don't feel totally robbed, and I don't wish that I could turn back time, but I'm not sure I'd have made the same decision having seen the flick.  Michael Caine and Chiewetl Ojiefor (I know I didn't spell his name right) made Children of Men for me, though. They were damn good.

Also saw an old, old reliable -- Mother, Jugs and Speed.  There's really nothing to say here, it was just fun.  And even considering my low standards, surprisingly not that bad.

Topped off with The Great Waldo Pepper, which I have never seen, despite its being over 30 years old - probably because I'm not a huge Redford fan.  I liked it a lot, even if it was a semi-retread of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid in some ways (not the least being its direction by George Roy Hill).  The major similarity, in my opinion, was that it told the tale of barnstorming pilots (or bank robbers) whose way of life (barnstorming/robbing banks) must change with the times, ie increasing regulation and more crowded skies (or Pinkertons/the Bolivian army). 

That being said, I thought it was done very well and hit a lot of the right notes. The melancholy-ish reminiscing by Pepper and the famous German ace (movie is set post-WWI) who had fought each other in the war, and the recreation of their battle conveyed their longing for the old days of pilots who did what they had to do, unencumbered by regulations and a shrinking frontier (so to speak).  These guys knew that their glory days were behind them and that they didn't fit in this new era, or at least didn't want to. 

In that way, I thought TGWP was also an ode to America's glory days when anything seemed possible -- I know I'm feeling old anyway, but it seems like that optimistic attitude was soooo long ago.  Anyway, I liked The Great Waldo Pepper a whole lot more than I thought I would.  And I'd watch it again, damnit.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3670 on: March 05, 2008, 08:17:32 PM »

Yeah, I remember it being good, too, sort of a holdover from old Hollywood that finally got made even though the times were changing...I'm still nostalgic for when Reagan was in office and when Tom Cruise shot a Russian MIG the bird upside down in an 8G nosedive or whatever.....anything but this, inside my future eye, what I see just makes me cry, I'm way down now, I'm way down now...(dissapointed at the Hillary, still, from last night, and only kidding about "Top Gun").

Don't know if you watched "The War," the doc by Burns, but there is a very moving segment about the Pacific theater and this one airfield that was being held by the Japanese at the edge of our fuel perimeter, where, this one old WWII SOB finally figures out where he might have the leader plane in his sights, and if he could take him out, then, it might totally disrupt the order of the defense of the airfield.....which was planes flying in concentric circles if that's the right word and peeling off depending on where the attack was coming from and with the lead fighter flying around above directing the defense knowing that the Americans couldn't engage for long without risking not making it back to the carrier, but I digress, it was the best part of the doc for me because you got the feeling of what it might've been like to be a daring fighter pilot, and I think that's a lot of what "Pepper" is about, the loss of that, or maybe the impotence of the Vietnam war or some nostalgia for a clear fight, don't really remember the specifics.  I am one who liked Redford in "The Great Gatsby" thought the literati insist that it's a terrible film that "doesn't get it..." which may well be true...but I remember liking it, but I need to read the book again because I remember being distracted by "symbolism" and things that wouldn't bother me as much now.
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« Reply #3671 on: March 06, 2008, 11:26:27 AM »

Mia Farrow was what was wrong with The Great Gatsby. Evans should have cast Marilyn Chambers or Annette Haven as Daisy.
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barton
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« Reply #3672 on: March 06, 2008, 11:40:55 AM »

I'll confess I can't remember the name of the boat in CofM.   I want to rent it again, maybe take more time absorbing the sets and the details.

Saw The Darjeeling Ltd. last night --- much in the pattern of Wes Anderson's recent work, of appeal to the small niche of serious fans, with a reluctance to take hold the reins of plot -- what results are loosely assembled vignettes about familial ties and their pitfalls or about the rigors of train travel in India.  One scene shows Bill Murray in a cameo, failing to catch the train -- no clue what he's doing there.  There are jokes made about a "spiritual" quest of some kind, though it's hard to tell where they are pointed or to what degree they might be funny.  Of one thing I am certain:  you would be hard put to cast three men (Adrian Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson) who less resemble brothers -- in a funnier film, no doubt this could have worked in service of the comedy.

  
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harrie
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« Reply #3673 on: March 06, 2008, 01:09:46 PM »

I'll confess I can't remember the name of the boat in CofM.  

The ship was called Tomorrow.  At least it wasn't Hope or Salvation or something like that. I don't mean to come down hard on the flick, if I am.  It's just that with a movie made this well, I expected it to be more subtle, maybe. Like, in a Steven Seagal flick, I expect dialogue like "Just in case you didn't understand our title, I'm going to name the boat Tomorrow, as in "Now there will be a tomorrow.  Get it?"   If Theo's last name ended up being Logian, I was going to look for another flick to watch.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3674 on: March 06, 2008, 01:44:27 PM »

In "Hard to Kill," Steven Seagal played "Mason Storm."

In "Under Seige," Seagal played a character named "Casey Ryback."

The only other recurring character that I'm aware of is when Steven Seagal played "Johnathan Cold" in "The Foreigner" ('03) and "Black Dawn" ('05), which I am less familiar with.

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