Author Topic: Midnight Special  (Read 6746 times)

verbALs

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Midnight Special
« on: April 13, 2016, 11:55:26 AM »
Ready to defend any and all even slight negative comments. Also looking for a Midnight Special BFF.

Midnight Special - maybe no last third could totally deliver on the promise of the first two, but this ending does as good as any I suppose. Loved Shannon, loved edgerton, LOVED the music. Excited to hear the fs review. Nichols still one of the most interesting directors working today.

I'm joking I'm not going to get silly about it. I just wondered when you say third act, where you feel that begins.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 11:57:24 AM by verbALs »
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karlwinslow

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 12:06:54 PM »
I'd prob need a rewatch to really pinpoint it, but it just felt like once they start to really unravel some of the "mystery" it loses just the slightest bit of steam. I really really liked this film, don't get me wrong! The final shot of Shannon (I'm assuming going to execution?) was just chilling.

My wife and I also got into an argument of the merits of Adam Driver. I said he was good, she said he's the second best actor working today. So there's that...

verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 01:00:29 PM »
Yes Driver was excellent. Much better than Star Wars baddie. Very natural geek credentials. The five main actors were all incredible.

I am interested in that SF element and how it is received. I always take whatever premise an author wants to posit and then as long as it is effectively used and is consistent I go with it. I mean multi-dimensional layers rather than space travel is a new concept but it's fits scientific thinking. I have read so much SF (that it makes me a geek) that I'll go with any premise as long as meets those criteria I mentioned earlier.

I found the ending majestic. Shannon killed someone? He must have done. I thought the ending was simply to show where Alton's powers came from and maybe hinted at Shannon's coming power. As for death penalty the NSA and the army know what happened and why Shannon was compelled to act. I wonder at them dumping him in prison at all.
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Jeff Schroeck

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2016, 04:49:19 PM »
I loved Adam Driver in this. He brought a little comedy to temper the dread, but he didn't overdo it. His character was just on the verge of bumbling, and he was convincing as someone serious enough to get a high level government job but also weird enough to be the unexplained phenomena expert.

I can see where someone might feel like the last third falters a bit, but I think the problem is more in the explanation scene. I love where everything goes, but it feels like the story takes a sharp turn at that scene in the motel, and the turn itself feels a little bumpy.

This occurred to me a few days after seeing it, but I wonder how much of a conscious influence "Field Of Dreams" was on this - especially when Driver's character asks to come but they say no. Plus it's Nichols and that's such a fathers and sons movie.

verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 01:02:46 AM »
I wanted them to take Driver and I was surprised at their attitude a little, which is great in the middle of a movie to be slightly disconcerted. Lucas and Driver little exchange about the handcuffs and punching him. So many little golden moments. When you get developed characters that then interact in different ways, it is so expansive. Nichols must adore FoD.

I assume that the third act starts at the garage? If Karl's description can be read that way? When  Alton says "I'm sorry" "No, I'm sorry" it felt like he was apologising for everything that as going to happen till the end of the film. I adore the mystery of the garage scene. I thought it was an attack coming from space. That learning process Nichols puts you through by starting his film where he does is masterful. its a general lesson in, where should I start my film. My preference is for someone to be falling out the sky with no parachute. In a metaphorical sense. Just drop them and go from there. AND do not use any throwback scenes to explain it. Just move forward and do the explaining on the run. Or don't explain it at all. Nolan must have felt giddy watching this. "YOU CANT DO THAT!" Momentum. Honour the momentum you build up in a film and DO NOT EVER interrupt it by explaining stuff. Anyone know what Alton's power was? I mean who cares? I cared about every character and that sums up why I watch films. Just give me that without clouding the issue in any way.

On another note MS is disappearing from screens here already! Ive talked myself into seeing it again I think before it does.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 01:07:09 AM by verbALs »
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Totoro

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 03:15:04 AM »
I didn't care much for this and it saddens me.  :'(

It feels over-edited. No consistent pacing. Didn't need so many narrative threads. Driver's, in particular, was rather dull as the film progressed into its second half.

verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 03:17:38 AM »
Got a review?

One narrative thread surely. A chase movie requires chasers and chasees.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 03:19:09 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

Teproc

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2016, 04:04:34 AM »
Listening the the Next Picture Show episode about it (you all should listen to that podcast if you aren't already) helped clarified the problems I have with this.

First of all, the Spielbergianity of it all. It feels hollow to me : it's made to look like it's the early 80's (the cars and the clothes, especially Driver), but it's clearly not a period piece, so... why ? I feel like the similarities with those movies are all surface-level : clearly the focus on family and fatherhood sets it very much apart from Close Encounters.

Then we get to the fatherhood allegory : don't get me wrong, it's the best part of the film, Michael Shannon is excellent and it's the only aspect in which the film comes close to managing all its threads together ("I like worrying about you" is a great line), but why is Kirsten Dunst there ? If you're going to have the mother present, she needs to be more of a character than she was, and if you want to make a film about fatherhood (not parenthood), why have her here at all ? She's not bad, but she felt like she came from another film entirely.

Then there's the actual sci-fi aspect. The problem here is that the reveal is completely underwhelming : a bunch of CGI buildings, that's what's making people form a cult ? Admittedly the evidence of another plane of existence would be enough, but the film leads up to it and wants you to be awed by it... and I really wasn't.

It feels like a hodge-podge of various elements (moody thriller, family drama, positive sci-fi, exploration of spirituality) which never coalesce in anything bigger, and that makes every little flaw bigger, like the ridiculously easy to breach roadblock, the ending which doesn't acknowledge the fact that thousands of people must have witnessed those things.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 03:06:04 AM by Teproc »
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verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2016, 04:07:18 AM »
Then I'd suggest not comparing it with CEOT3K. I mean you can or you can't. It affects the film not at all. The best explanation is that Nichols is using the same grammar as Spielberg for his own purposes and better in lots of ways. Now I'm talking about a film I dearly love not being as good as this in lots of ways. Of course I'm going to defend this film heartily.

Dunst realises way before Shannon what is going to happen and she explains it to him. Why two parents are better than one. She helps Shannon accept what is going to happen to Alton.

No an entire dimension placed just above our own.

They didn't shoot at them for a reason at the roadblock. They nearly died driving through it anyway.

Thousands of people did witness it. People gaping in awe acknowledged it. So the family drama worked for you (?) mainly, the SF didn't. What about the chase thriller? What didnt you like about that?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 04:14:21 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

Teproc

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2016, 04:14:03 AM »
FWIW, I saw Midnight Special before seeing CEOT3K (which I watched because it was going to be discussed in the Next Picture Show).

"Two parents are better than one". Maybe, but I don't think the film really establishes that, as in the end she's completely sidestepped. As you say, she helps but she's not an integral part of the story. That feels wrong to me.

I know people did witness it, but the interrogation scene at the end suggests that has no bearing since people still seem to doubt anything supernatural happened.
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