Serious Movie Discussion | Page 30

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by Bullitt68, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. JSN Titanium Belt

    JSN
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    I don't know if I agree with that. I felt like A Clockwork Orange was a very faithful and well realized adaptation of a good book.


    The Shining is a different animal. It's not so faithful and opinions vary whether the movie or book is better. I'm in the camp of the movie doesn't do a good job of showing Jack's descent into madness. On the other hand, it's still a great movie and visually stunning of course.
     
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  2. ufcfan4 Can't Andle The Riddum

    ufcfan4
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    So I watched two Liam Neeson movies recently: A Walk Among the Tombstones and Nonstop.

    Both good, entertaining thrillers in my opinion. I think Neeson is the man. Very capable actor who can do different genres. But as far as this badass but vulnerable persona goes, I think he can basically play this role with his eyes closed by this point.

    Hell, his character from Walk may as well have been the same character from Nonstop. Very similar in terms of qualities and Neeson played them similarly.

    With Walk Among the Tombstones, my only real complaint is that the story seemed to stagnate after a while. The early stuff where Dan Stevens explained what happened to his wife and where Neeson first paired up with the teenage investigator really had my interest. Then it started to get to the point where you knew where it was going and once that air of mystery was gone and it became more routine, I found it less compelling. To me, the best thrillers are films like Zodiac that start out strong and then manage to continue to build the tension to the point that they can even deliver a scene such as the "California doesn't have many basements" scene even deep in the movie. A Walk Among the Tombstone suffered from being more captivating earlier on than it became down the stretch. Cool atmosphere and Neeson commanded the screen.

    Nonstop was fun throughout. However, I take some severe issue with the payoff. I don't mind suspension of disbelief and implausibility at all. I just find it a bit troubling when a narrative revolves around some master plan whereby so many variables had to be accounted for in advance that it is very difficult to digest that the plot would play out exactly as it does. It is one thing to have an intricate plan. It is another when you anticipate every move and where one minor deviation in Neeson's choices could have disrupted an element of the plan.

    Also, the big rationale for the villain seemed- I don't know- questionable.
     
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  3. ufcfan4 Can't Andle The Riddum

    ufcfan4
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    Also, recently finally got around to Edge of Tomorrow. Real fun movie. Cruise is a boss. Has to be said. Blunt should be in more action movie roles.
     
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  4. ufcfan4 Can't Andle The Riddum

    ufcfan4
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    FInally,

    Pretty solid event tonight. Stipe is a killer. Three first-round finishes over very good competition. He's got to be in the discussion of the greatest heavyweights of all time.

    Love Joanna. Stellar performance.

    Edgar is a beast. Yair was definitely not ready for that big a step up.
     
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  5. chickenluver Bookmobile Driver

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    4 broseph. Unless you're saying Arlovski is not very good competition? o_O:mad:
     
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  6. ufcfan4 Can't Andle The Riddum

    ufcfan4
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    I love AA. Oversight on my part. Lol.
     
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  7. Sigh GunRanger You think anybody will notice?

    Sigh GunRanger
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    It's a different story and vibe than other star wars movies. This takes place before a new hope, and more downbeat. Less space opera stuff
     
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  8. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

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    Submitted my dissertation yesterday so had a bit of free time to finally watch some films again before I have to get back to studying (when I'm rarely in the mood to watch serious films).

    [​IMG]
    Today I watched Friedkin's Sorcerer, I read that it was a complete flop at the time (commercially and critically), but has since undergone a bit of a reappraisal. Well I have never seen the original Wages of Fear so don't have that to compare it against but I thought it was brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed it. I only very vaguely knew what the plot was about before watching (the still shots and description as 'existential thriller' were enough to get me curious). So the first sections of the film which set up the different characters backgrounds had me wondering were it was going, but you still felt it was going to come together. Which of course it does as the 'protagonists' all find themselves trapped in this remote South American village, eager for a way out. The best bits were when the 'main' story begins though, where they need to carry the unstable nitroglycerine through the mountains. I really can't understand why it was panned at the time as some of the scenes are literally breathtaking. The bridge crossing scene in particular is incredible! But the whole second half is filled with a genuine tension and a feeling of existential dread, as the main characters start to become delirious etc. Perhaps it was a little too bleak for audiences at the time? Especially since, as a lot of people have suggested, it was competing with Star Wars at the box office. But I'm glad it's starting to be seen as an underrated classic, I thought it was really good. Certainly in a similar vein to other films I love like Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo and Apocalypse Now in terms of the tension, existential themes and overall mood. I'd say it's up there with those, or not far off anyway. Of course the jungle setting is also part of the reason those three come to mind and it goes without saying that it looked outstanding as well, and the soundtrack is another plus point.

    [​IMG]
    Yesterday I watched The Conformist. I really liked it as well. Obviously the first thing I noticed about it was how ridiculously good the cinematography was (Storaro is the man), and that's one of the best things about. It looks so good it's worth watching simply as pure visual art to be honest. The narrative structure also felt very strange, but overall the plot was good, a little slow and dry at certain points, but in general an interesting mixture of political thriller and a psychological examination of it's main character, Marcello Clerici who simply wants to feel 'normal'. In that sense it's a film about fascism, without being explicitly about fascism, of course there are references to castor oil treatment and so on, but it seemed more an exploration of how this desire to conform can enable totalitarian states. There is a lot of underlying (and unresolved) sexual tension which also played an important part of the film, and in Clerici's need to conform.
     
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  9. Caveat Mozart in a Go-Kart

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    Fucking lol

    <escalate99>
     
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  10. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

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    Watched Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now earlier. Very strange film, and not quite what I was expecting, but in the end I did like it. I thought it was a horror film going in, so I was expecting it to be scarier than it was. Not that it's a bad thing as I really dislike jumpy horrors anyway, horror in general really lol, but it was more of a psychological thriller with slight supernatural/horror elements. There were no scenes that were particularly scary, but an eery, uneasy quality hangs over the whole film. I loved Walkabout when I saw that so I was somewhat used to Roeg's non-linear editing techniques, but it was much more prominent in this film and certainly added to the strangeness and uneasiness. It did work very well at putting you in the shoes of the main character, who doesn't believe in the supernatural, attempting to make sense of what's happening around him. As I say I did like it, but it does seem a tad overrated in some reviews I read afterwards.
     
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  11. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    europe1
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    I'm not the biggest fan of The Conformist. Yeah I agree that the visuals are masterfully crafted (like when they're talking about Plato's cave and the interplay between shadows and light in that scene) but I just couldn't get engaged with the movie. The film is just so opaque. It's pallid and has this feeling of constant repression (which I suppose was the point).

    A lot of the movie is about exploring Marcello and his relation to fascism -- but I never really got a proper connection to the guy to do even that. The entire movie is so dejected from it's human characters that I couldn't find any avenue to approach them. It feels strangly lifeless.

    The whole, "I'm a fascist out of a desire to feel normal" is an interesting angle to take. But the psychological angle was never something I felt in the character. It's like the movie presents the causes without presenting the desire.

    The whole "childhood homosexual abuse" is sort of a funny tidbit from that era, I think. About how people thought psychology worked at the time.

    Dunno, Conformist is a hard film to talk about for me. It's like one of those films that I should find very fascinating but don't for reasons that I cannot properly articulate.

    Personally, when it comes to Italian films dealing with Fascism, I think that Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is a much superior work from the very same year. Or something like A Special Day from seven years later.


    Never seen Sorcerer or Don't Look Back. And yes I am ashamed to say that.:p

    Not even all the Powers of Google can unearth to me what that is supposed to mean. :D

    Is it about teh gay?
     
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  12. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Those all seems very understandable criticisms to me, the film does feel very 'repressed' and as I said, quite dry at various points. I do think the visuals played a big part in my enjoying the film.

    Yeah it wasn't as if we the guy being married and then looking to sleep with men on the side lol, the psychological angle that is revealed is quite subtle in the character himself.

    Haven't seen either, I will have to check them out!

    Watch them!

    haha no not teh gay. I just meant that we know that the main character is working for the Italian secret service and obviously he's directed to carry out an assassination, but we don't ever see many actual manifestations of fascism (as in huge fascists rallies, socialists getting their doors kicked in, getting tortured or whatever). It's all from the perspective of the character, so you hear about things, or see how the priest is suddenly afraid when he finds out that he is in the secret service. They mention people getting castor oil treatment but don't show it. It was just a form of torture used by Mussolini's against enemies of fascism, particularly socialists. Basically they'd imprison people, tie them to a chair and force feed them an entire bottle of castor oil which, not to put too fine a point on it, is a laxative...
     
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  13. Adamant GOLD BELT

    Adamant
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    Can someone please tell me what movie this is from?

    (Horror movie face melting)
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    europe1
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    It's from The Fly 2.

    Never understood why so many people throw that one under the buss. Classic example of people disliking a movie simply because the original was better, despite the sequel being a good movie on it's own right.
     
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  15. Caveat Mozart in a Go-Kart

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    This was a solid write-up of Logan, Rick.

    I'm definitely glad I watched it, but it didn't really click for me as well as it has for so many others. And I went into it really wanting to feel it and be hit hard by it.

    I'm not sure if it was the pacing between major scenes or something about how they were executed, but I had a really hard time buying into the world as a whole. I'm not sure how to explain this other than by saying that Logan's timeline felt like it could be the future of Wolverine, but remains one especially dark possibility among others. That gives a sense of the distance I felt from it, though I missed The Wolverine which might have included more preparation for the events of the current story.

    Part of that response could have resulted from the sheer brutality hitting me over the head a little too hard - from grizzled Logan and the extreme no-nonsense violence right from the start, to a borderline-senile Professor-X whose circumstances were almost too unbearable to look straight in the eye, this thing was damn rough. The scene where Logan picks Prof X up after he's been injured while whispering "it wasn't me" over and over marked the limit of psychological turmoil that I was able to process. Fortunately for my mental stability the rest came off a little procedural - I didn't tear up again until Laura turned the cross on its side at the end.

    Actually my favourite shot of her was a quick one (totally felt the savage Hit-Girl comparison too btw, @Dragonlordxxxxx) when she's sitting at the dinner table with the family and Professor X teases Logan about not being a good pupil, and she smiles and laughs. I felt a bit of relief that she wasn't so far gone that she couldn't identify with those familial relationships, which was probably the strongest flicker of feeling I had for her until the end. Her voicelessness felt mishandled, though the spontaneous repeating of the names in the car was an effectively disturbing touch.

    I think the violence of Logan would have been more effective had it escalated through the film to emphasize Logan's own desperation, perhaps as an indicator that old-man Logan is forced to fight with even less discipline because he can't risk holding back and giving his opponents the second chances he could endure when he was younger. Giving it all up right away was a bold way to kick-things off, but besides the thrill of watching Laura in action the fighting that followed felt like more of the same. A bit of a disappointment for a movie boasting an ensemble of mutant performers (even if most of them were kids!).

    I have to say it felt a little silly that Laura was considered this lethal killer as a tiny girl just because she had Wolverine powers. As a shout-out to Looper even, wouldn't it have been cool if Laura was Logan's illegitimate daughter with Jean Grey? I half-expected (and hoped for) a second reveal where she started tearing people apart tele-kinetically - especially after her early relationship with the old prof. Logan with an artificial daughter creates a really nice circularity with his introduction to Rogue in the first X-Men film, but that would have added some investment that could have upped the stakes even higher.

    Song time!



    PS. @Ricky13 maybe we can discuss the 2016 list another time, but the 2017 one, while shorter, is kicking some ass in terms of quality so far. Will keep you posted.
     
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  16. Ricky13 You are who you choose to be.

    Ricky13
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    Cheers Cav. Loved your thoughts on Logan. Especially how you thought they could have handled the violence (tying it to Logan's emotional arc). I still thought it was a very good film. What can I say: it's no Spidey 2.

    I actually haven't seen much this year at all. Trying to spend my time on other things, and workload has ratcheted up more recently. So you'll have to tell me what to watch when I do get to it. Best I've seen so far is Get Out. That's an all-timer. Also saw this cool poster for it but I'm broke as fuck and can't afford it right now:

    [​IMG]

    I want to see Colossal. Alien:Covenant as well. And the new Guardians. And holy shit the new Blade Runner. If I can squeeze those in somehow I'd be happy.

    My most anticipated film, and it's not close, is Baby Driver. You like Edgar Wright?

    I had thoughts on Rogue One and really wanted to get into the discussion here. I thought it was what passed for a good time at the movies now but featured typically wasteful storytelling. Some really interesting stumbles functionally, the dissection of which led to a massive (yet friendly) argument in real life with a movie buddy.

    Thanks @Bullitt68 for the Cavell and Bordwell recs. I've read a little Bordwell way back. Should be fun to dive into. Most of the movie stuff I read is straight from the makers: directors/writers (Herzog, Tarkovsky, lots of Mamet, William Goldman) and editors (you read Walter Murch ever?). Never really read interpretive shit. Or watched that stuff either, like video essays. Takes the magic out of it for me a little bit. I like to be the one breaking it down.

    Scattered post. Just felt I should because it's been a while. No time to get back to both you guys' posts in detail, I'm afraid, but it'll happen.

    Oh and @Rimbaud82 - you need to watch Wages of Fear man. If you like it, also check out Frankenheimer's The Train: one of the coolest Lancaster joints you'll ever watch. I love those kinds of films: where the action waits for nobody. If I remember correctly @Sigh GunRanger liked that one too.
     
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  17. Caveat Mozart in a Go-Kart

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    Ha, see my new belt/tagline. Just watched Scott Pilgrim again the other day and was blown away by how perfectly entertaining it is, especially for the first half-hour or so. I predict that Jon Hamm is going to light it up in this new one, that guy has all kinds of comedy potential imo.

    Just missed Song to Song the other night but I've got my eye on that as one of my next watches.
     
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  18. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    europe1
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    50% there now!

    I liked it very much! It definitively has that tense, filmic, hard-edged feel of Friedkin's other works like French Connection or To Live and Die in LA. I've heard that it's Friedkin's person favorite but for me the undisputed king of his ouvere is Excorcist, with the prince being French Connection and Sorcerer parking in at third.

    Can't believe that Friedkin would stoop to such cinematic incompetence as The Guardian in his later years.

    It reminded me of For a Few Dollars More, with a sizable chunk of the films runtime being merely character introduction. However, in that film, the introduction gave a very fleshy feel for the character. You hated Indigo after the church duel. In Sorcerer, the introduction is more about establishing the communality of the personas, all being different kinds of criminals that are exiled into the absolute frontiers of civilization.

    Oh yes, a shining piece of brilliance!

    That tree branch that comes crashing into the frenchman from the side felt like something supernatural.

    The main echo that revberated for me was actually Papillon. In how people on a quest are driven to their physical limits due to the hardship they endure, and start experiecing visions and hallucinations as a consequence. I'm particuarly thinking of McQueen's transformation in the prison cell, coupled with his dream of death, in comparison to Scheider driving the truck for the last part of the journey and seeing hellish visions as he does. Those two moments felt very connected for me. Aguirre and Apocalypse are also about those extremes, but Aguirre is a bit to deadpan and aloof while Apocalypse traipses to far into the mythic.

    Plus... jungle and all.:cool:

    I think that it's foreignness was also a major turn-off for American audiences, both in terms of story, characters and language.

    Also, this was sort of a period where many of the New Hollywood wunderkinds were experiecing public and critical backlashes. Friedkin's reception might have been riding that wave.

    Not having a background in philosophy, the labeling of "existentialism" on films has always furrowed my brows a little. What exactly is the existential angle in Sorcerer?

    From my understanding, existentialism is about defining who you are through your actions. So is Sorcerer about human survivability? A study in what we become when placed in the most desperate and hazardous enviorment that nature and man can muster? How necessity to survive breeds a special sort of man? There does seem to be a sort of comradery flowering between the four men -- even with the assassin, based on mutal hardship. And the unimaginable challanges that men will take when survival is on the line.


    Related to this, I thought the films moral stance was an interesting one. The film does have some sort of moral core -- it's not a nice portrayl at all in how First-World companies exploit the resources and populations of their Third-World counterparts. Death, cruelty and exploitation of the poor and desperate seem to be ubiquitous feutures in a companies third-world ventures.

    However, while the film makes moral comments, the characters themselves are strangely aloof from such interests. They're all criminals of some sort, driving into exil due to their actions as outlaws. But are they evil? Kasem's bombing is portrayed rather neutrality, is he a terrorist or a freedom fighter? The same can be said for the criminality of Scheider and the Frenchman. Only the assassin seems somewhat morally demarcated due to his coldness and willingness to kill indiscriminately.

    Maybe the film is saying that their moral character is secondary to the sympathy they elicit due to the harshness of their quest? Considering all the shit Scheider has gone through, did the justification of the church-robbery really matter in the end? Watching him dance with that wizzened old woman is comment enough on it's own.

    The ending is bleak as hell though. It's quite karmatic, really. Punishment finds Scheider even on the edges of existence, it's inescapable.
     
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  19. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

    Rimbaud82
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    Haven't even seen any of his other films <6>



    Yeah I read that the original Wages of Fear goes into less detail about the characters. This one sets it up pretty clearly that these aren't particularly likeable people right from the start, yet later on you can't help but, not quite root for them, but you sympathise with they are going through I guess, despite what we now about their backgrounds....as you note later in your post.

    Papillon is one I have been meaning to watch for a while, if it's a similar vibe to Sorcerer I am sure I will like it.

    It does seem to be the case that a lot of critics label films (or anything else) as 'existential' as a kind of easy short-hand for anything that deals with philosophical themes. But existentialism is a fairly broad philosophical idea, more of a trend than a concrete set of ideas, even if in retrospect there are a bunch of philosophers who's ideas are recognisably existential in a general sense. Fundamentally it's just about, as the name might suggest, existence considered from the human perspective, what it is to be a human being and the problems that arise from this. Part of that is definitely 'defining who you are through your actions' as you say (as far as I understand it, I am no expert either lol), defining the meaning of our own lives ie. the kind of freedom proscribed by De Beauvoir. But you can also point to the 'negative' point from which existentialist philosophy starts from, the anxiety caused by an lack of inherent meaning in the world (nihilism). After all Sorcerer is supposedly an existential thriller. :D The dangerous trip and everything the men go is, in the end, utterly futile for the three who end up being killed, particularly after they go through the likes of the bridge crossing. It seems utterly hopeless and desperate, what's the point? But then I think your suggestion that it's, on some level, about human survival could be on the money, because unless we decide it's a 'nihilistic thriller' rather than an existential one (since this seeks to overcome the problem of nihilism) then there needs to be some sense of overcoming. Of course it could be that the label, which just happened to be coined by one critic for the original Wages of Fear isn't all that suitable. Though in any case it's an interesting way to tackle the film.

    The ending also raises an important question in light of that. As you say it was "...bleak as hell though. It's quite karmatic, really. Punishment finds Scheider even on the edges of existence, it's inescapable". I agree generally, but I'm not sure whether it's karmatic or absurdist (maybe it's an absurdist thriller lol), Schnieder's character goes through hell and back, to the limits of sanity and just about makes it through only to get killed at the very end when it seems like he's gonna pull through it all. I suppose it could be either really, depends how you want to read it. As some moral law inevitably returning to punish Schnieder for his prior crimes, or just hopelessly absurd.

    Yeah this wasn't a huge point, but it was definitely noticeable.
     
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  20. Rimbaud82 Brown Belt

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    [​IMG]
    So earlier today I watched The Tree of Wooden Clogs, directed by Ermanno Olmi. Really, it is a goddamn masterpiece, I loved it. At first glance, it wouldn't seem like a three hour long film about north Italian peasants at the turn of the twentieth century would that interesting. And really it is just about the lives of four peasant families, in all it's simplicity. But it was wonderful, and despite it's very steady pace it is never boring. On the most basic possible level, you can read it as a critique of the class system, and there are enough references to it's injustice. However, this is largely in the background for most of the film. More importantly it affirms the kind of happiness found in everyday life, I don't know for certain, but I assume Olmi must have been very religious as faith is something that plays a crucial role. Not to say the film is totally, or even mostly, optimistic but there's a definite life-affirming thread that runs throughout it, in spite, or probably because of, the hardships face by the peasants. Their connection to the local landscape is important too, life in their village moves in time with the seasons and in one brief section near the end this connection to nature is contrasted with the modern city life of Milan.
     
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