Author Topic: The Completist Marathon  (Read 4550 times)

Junior

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2015, 12:21:58 PM »
Word, oldkid. Well said. I like the idea of a performance that is more internal and action based. Chastain is quite good in ZDT, and I really should rewatch that because it has only grown in my memory, which is always a good sign.
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verbALs

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2015, 12:46:54 PM »
I completely disagree with you, verbals.  I think Chastain is fantastic in Zero and the HL is a great character study by what a person does rather than what he says.  And, more to the point, both films build in intensity without losing anything in the acting or casting.
Just as an example, the film starts with a soldier on overwatch for his team leader who is approaching a bomb. He sees a local looking at the bomb disposal guy and then fiddling with his phone. He knows exactly what the guy is doing with his phone and then proceeds to bleat about whether he should do something about it. In not doing something (for whatever reason) he gets the guy blown up. Try watching it again and taking it seriously. I would say this air of unreality operates throughout, and it worked ok for me the first time too. Just OK though.

The clarity in American Sniper which I watched pretty much straight after, only makes a lot of what happens in HL look ridiculous. HL is a film that trundles along until the only safe conclusion is that this maverick should be dispensed with by his own team. Then it switches to start humanising him, and it looks suspiciously like it is done, precisely because it becomes apparent how stupid the guy is.

You seem to have recognised that characterisation is a weak point of Bigelow's. I'm agreeing with you. If I were to agree with you that this changes with HL then I would probably put that down to the scripting. I don't really think it does because Chastain is a character driven by one intent and as soon as she fulfils that intent, she sits in a plane looking like an empty husk. That isn't either good characterisation nor good acting.

We can probably differ on this point quite comfortably though. Let's say she's not in the top ten of working directors who develop strong character in their films.

....but Gary Busey and Angela Bassett. I'll concede Adrian Pasdar.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2015, 03:25:54 AM »
My only recommendation here would be Shallow Grave, which I like a lot. Good luck on this.
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oldkid

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2017, 09:30:03 PM »
Dang, I forgot that I had a marathon here.  I have quite a few movies that I've seen and I really tried to watch all of Linklater films (almost!).

Let's play some catch up.

Always
Richard Dreyfuss is the hero, the stunt firefighter flyer, always ready to save lives, knowing that his life would always be spared.  Until it isn't.  Suddenly, his life is full of regret.  Of not properly loving the girl he loved.  Not properly training his replacement.  He still has so much work to do.  Luckily, heaven is set up so that he might very well finish his unfinished tasks.

Look, I love Spielberg's sappiest films.  War Horse, Schindler's list, Saving Private Ryan, the BFG (coming up), I loved them all.  But Always goes a mile in the air too far.  If there was ever a case of too much Spielberg, this is it.  Every scene is hyper-dramatic without laying the emotional foundation.  I'd love the lighting and the intensity if Richard Dreyfuss was likable in this film.  He just seems like a jerk. About halfway through the film, I was ready to write it off.

Then, in the final act, it was saved.  It had to do with an unexpected twist on the 40's fable, and Holly Hunter who suddenly became much more than a MPDG. In the final act, this wasn't just a boy's wet dream.  It became a real story. 

For the most part, too late for me.  I love the final act and all the drama it deserves, but the first three quarters of the film wasn't worth the wait.

3/5

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oldkid

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2017, 09:55:08 PM »
Bridge of Spies

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous. -Bill Moyers

A quiet, typical cold war spy drama, in which an everyman (insurance lawyer, Tom Hanks) becomes a real life spy.  And when we say "real life" we mean no guns, no femme fatale, no fast travel around the world.  Just bureaucracies, border crossings, prejudice and secrets that everyone knows.  Real-life spy stuff. 

Honestly, this should be boring.  But I could watch Hanks walk across a city, chatting with people.  I could watch Spielberg films of his kids. And the Coens also arrive, among my favorite scriptwriters.  So it should be boring, but it isn't.  It takes a dreary Berlin and dreary courtrooms and makes them magical.  Yeah, he's still got it.

4/5

The BFG
So the music is saying something to them. It is sending a message. I do not think the human beans is knowing what that message is, but they is loving it just the same. -The BFG

This is a book that was a favorite to read to my children.  I loved the cleverly butchered language, the brave Sophie, the Queen in all her unrealistic acceptance of the unnatural.  So when I heard a film was being made of it, I shook my head.  Nope, not going to bother.  Why watch a ruined family favorite?

But then I found out it was Spielberg.  I began to crack.  Although Tintin was lifeless, maybe he could ply his magic on this story.  But who could possibly play the Big Friendly Giant?  Oh, Mark Rylance?  The same guy who stole scenes in Bridge of Spies out from under Tom Hanks with his silence and quiet lines?  Oh, well, I doubt it, but it might work.

Well Spielberg did his magic, in the most over-the-top, super-magical wonderful way.  And Rylance has a genius interpretation of one of my favorite characters in children's literature.

If there is a problem with the film, is that it feels too much like the book.  It is very bookish, very talky, and one of Spielberg's least cinematic films.  But, personally, I don't care.  He gave me a scrumdiddlyumptious monster of a present by giving one of my most joyous reads right back to me again.  Those who expect a better cinematic experience, leave it alone.  This one is for me.

4/5
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oldkid

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2017, 10:23:05 PM »
Sleepy Hollow

“There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.” ― Mary Renault, The Charioteer

There are Tim Burton films whose characters are so memorable and Burton's characteristic Gothic stamp pleasantly rests upon it.  Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas.  Then there are the Burton films that feel like an abomination of Burton's style, clearly his but without any coherent, redeeming features.  Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows. 

And then there are the films like Sleepy Hollow.  Burton's fingerprints are all over it, from the ghoulish to the humor to the simple script.  Johnny Depp is here, but without his "cannot do wrong" eccentricity which gets all wrong.  He has remembered to act.  These films, like, say, Sweeny Todd, captures the stamp of Burton's direction, but are unique in their own way.  Yes, Sleepy Hollow has the Burton gothic outline, but it captures some of the fun of his earlier works that I miss in some of his blockbusters. 

3.5/5

Big Eyes

“Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Burton is a stylist, but he isn't always able to direct actors.  We see him lose control (or perhaps vision) of the performances in the above mentioned abominations.  And sometimes celebrated actors need the most control.  Depp, certainly, is in this category-- control that man, or you have a disaster on your hands.  And the same, unfortunately, can be said of Christoph Waltz.  Quentin Tarantino knows how to get the most out of a Waltz performance, but few others do. 

Big Eyes is, in a sense, a two-actor play with Amy Adams as the brilliant painter's wife whose paintings are considered less artful, but are very popular; and Christoph Waltz as her husband who knows a cash cow when he sees one.  You need both actors to be brilliant to make this film work, but only one is.  The same one who was brilliant in Arrival, in The Master.  And the other was not.

This film is a stand out in Burton's cinema for it isn't a fantasy, high or otherwise, but a biography.  It is not especially memorable, but not altogether uninteresting, either.   Unless you are a completist, I'd say skip it.

3/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

oldkid

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2017, 10:33:26 PM »
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

There is a contract between filmmaker and watcher.  The watcher promises not to look all too closely, and the filmmaker will deliver his magic as if it were seemless, as if the props couldn't be seen and everyone will be happy with the entertainment offered.  But sometimes the watcher is trying to be too clever or the magician performs his illusions less skillfully and the fun is ruined for all.

I was a hundred percent with this time travel fantasy with an X-Men thread running through it.  The characters are wonderful, the magic was marvelous and it wasn't too spectacular as to seem silly.  Until the climax when the contradictions could no longer be avoided.  My daughters and I are pretty lenient when it comes to the inconsistencies of fantasy worlds.  But the time travel paradoxes went beyond the normal level until none of us could ignore them. 

And this is a shame because we were really enjoying our time with this film.  It had the right balance of fantasy, history and layers.  But a couple missteps at the end and all we could think of is how it could have been better.

3.5/5

Do I REALLY have to watch the latest of Alice's misadventures?  Isn't it possible for me to complete Tim Burton's films by watching something else?  Could I just watch Big Fish again?
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 10:35:25 PM by oldkid »
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Bondo

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2017, 07:23:48 AM »
Do I REALLY have to watch the latest of Alice's misadventures?  Isn't it possible for me to complete Tim Burton's films by watching something else?  Could I just watch Big Fish again?

Tim Burton didn't direct Alice Through The Looking Glass, he only produced it. So no, yes and yes.

At this point I think I'm two short on Tim Burton's filmography, Miss Peregrine and Dark Shadows.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2017, 07:30:12 AM »
Don't watch the latter. I haven't seen the former, but I am staying away. Even wine doesn't feel like it could remedy that one.
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oldkid

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Re: The Completist Marathon
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2017, 10:26:08 AM »
Do I REALLY have to watch the latest of Alice's misadventures?  Isn't it possible for me to complete Tim Burton's films by watching something else?  Could I just watch Big Fish again?

Tim Burton didn't direct Alice Through The Looking Glass, he only produced it. So no, yes and yes.

Thank you, you have saved two hours of enjoying life.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

 

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