Author Topic: It's Not a Wonderful Life  (Read 639 times)

oldkid

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Re: It's Not a Wonderful Life
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2017, 10:07:06 AM »
I love the personal touch, there.  Nothing like a musical number sung by a group of crucified people, with bouncing toes.
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Bondo

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Re: It's Not a Wonderful Life
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2017, 01:47:23 AM »
One from my top-100 that I left off my original list that I happened to rewatch tonight:

Boy Meets Girl

Third viewing, this fits right in with the rest of my list as revolving around a community ultimately coming together to support someone in need, in this case Ricky, a trans woman trying to make it in fashion. The film has its weaker moments but the winning performance by Michelle Hendley, one of the most potent nude scenes and its general optimism makes it a great repeat visit.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: It's Not a Wonderful Life
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2017, 07:06:17 AM »
Cross-posting from the Respond thread, my first submission:

Storks
Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland (2016)


When you leave the realm of the animation giants, trying a movie is something of a daunting exercise in risk taking. Established studios like Dreamworks are wildly uneven at best and can surprise you in the best and worst of ways. Storks was produced by Warner Animation Group, a studio that has only released The Lego Movie (encouraging but hardly historically significant) so far, and that is partnered with the unpredictable Warner Bros. feature Animation studio. At best, watching Storks is a toss of the dice.

The movie opens like a morality tale about the benefits about corporate capitalism and eugenics, which I was pretty on board with. A few scenes in the beginning had me a bit worried but when the gang leaves the factory the film really gets going. There is no way Andy Samberg did not participate in the writing. The film reeks of him, and not just the jokes too. There are some moments of great comedic inventiveness and some genuinely laugh out loud lines. I am sure Key and Peele also provided some of the ideas.

It should come as no surprise that Storks touches on themes around family and child raising. The best thing about it is that it manages to do different things with familiar situations. The workaholic parents spend the movie having fun with their son after he brilliantly emotionally manipulates them for instance - where another film would have given them an arc of reaching an epiphany at the very end. There are some problematic scenes, like when Tulip goes into maternal instinct overdrive that can jar but they don't spoil much.

The story sets up a villain that leads it into a very disappointing ending. The pigeon is an unfortunate enough invention and I am tired to the nostrils of corporate greed being portrayed as the ultimate evil in movies aimed at children. It sends a dreadful message and at this point is more than a cliché - not to mention how convoluted Hunter's thinking is. The conclusion of Storks shuns a cold capitalist model for a more emotionally-driven activity more in touch with the storks' calling.

I wish that instead the film had explored some of the implications of the world it sets up. This movie is crazy! There is an awkward discussion in a car where son asks the parents where babies come from. Where do babies come from? Are the storks an outsourcing of baby-making activities in a sexless, overworked society? I like to think so. There was also an opportunity to see the storks deliver children to same sex couples, single parents and such that is sadly wasted.

7/10
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: It's Not a Wonderful Life
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2017, 08:05:40 AM »
Crosspost.

What's New Pussycat?
Clive Donner, Richard Talmadge (1965)


Woody Allen at his youngest, not quite behind the helm yet, as he writes and stars in a movie that announces his work to come. The Allen persona is not fully developed yet but all the sexual inadequacy is there. Peter O'Toole and Peter Sellers are fantastic as they respectively try to stop and persevere in their philandering ways. Most of the film alternates between straight romcom and a strong absurd bent until it culminates in a vaudevillian final act. The sound handling is unfortunate but that is not enough to erase the hilarity of the jokes. I will not quote any, not to spoil them.

A wonderful good time.

7.5/10
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: It's Not a Wonderful Life
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2017, 06:11:33 AM »
Crossposting and post-whoring.

La La Land
Damien Chazelle (2016)


A movie about the virtues of negging.

Everyone is raving about how La La Land is Hollywood at its most navel-gazing. It is ; there are moments where you're ready to blurt out « oh come on » at the screen, but you don't, because there are people around and that would be rude, especially since for once no one's making noise. But if there is a masturbatory side to the movie it is in its reflection of Chazelle as a music-loving filmmaker. In a very real sense the entire plot is about him falling in love with himself.

But who cares? There is singing to talk about.

The movie opens with a big musical number but that's not where you really get into it. The scene is good but it lacks heart. It's like a pretty shot. It is only when when Stone and Gosling rib each other at a party that things get going. Chazelle uses these scenes to advance the plot and control the emotion of the movie. He demonstrates an ability to think outside the box and take the genre into new directions. The end of the film is a brilliant bit of storytelling.

This is not a film like they used to make them though, whatever that nonsensical phrase may mean. Both leads ooze charm but Gene Kelly they ain't. The singing is adequate, the dancing is good and yet it is the music that carries those numbers, along with Stone and Gosling's star power. Put Channing Tatum in here and you get a completely different dynamic. I hope Chazelle directs him someday.

The lyrics are not quite as good as the music. I don't think I'll relist to them often on Youtube. That's okay, I would have tap danced home if I knew how. And, you know, if people actually carried tap dancing shoes with them everywhere they went...

La La Love it.

8/10
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: It's Not a Wonderful Life
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2017, 12:17:28 PM »
Crossposting. Also, bumping the thread up.

Your Name
Makoto Shinkai (2016)


Whenever a story is told through animation there are grounds to wonder why the movie was made so. What does animation offer that live action does not? One hopes that the director is inspired by loftier reasons than his lone familiarity with the style, that he will use it to do things that are impossible with silly real people. Too often animation is seen as a shorthand way to direct your movie at younger audiences. That allows many people to dismiss animated films as children fare and the prejudice may spread even among those who believe the form can be and often is just as much for adults as it is for crotchspawn. The intellectual rigours we visit upon movies are often lessened when those movies happen to be animated. We are more permissive of dubious leaps of logic and plot-holes. The fact that these stories are ostensibly not real also helps diminish the mind's demands for realism. Odd behaviour is not seen as poor writing but as part of the inherent quirkiness of these animated worlds, which, visibly, are not the real world. You can look at the double standard as just that, an unjustified prejudice, but it is often harmless - except in those cases where things go very awry indeed.

You may see where I am coming to. Your Name has massive, Orson Welles-sized plot-holes at its very heart. I could mostly ignore these in the beginning of the movie because they started out as minor. As the story progressed though, they grew in girth. Around the middle of the film they suddenly take enormous proportions: Citizen Kane because Chides at Midnight. My insouciance had grown into active irritation by then and I was ready to become largely negative about the movie – especially since those plot-holes could have been easily solved by placing the story a few years earlier, before there were smartphones everywhere. The movie proceeded to erase my annoyance with the brush of its singular charm.

Let me state it clearly right now: Your Name is not only one of the best animated movies of 2016, it is one of the best movies of that year too – or of 2017, if you chose to look at it that way, whatever may be released yet.

The best way I can think of to explain Your Name is to compare it to Freaky Friday meets a much better version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Both movies are predominantly focused on romantic relationships and play with time and missed connections. These are not just plot gimmicks, they help to create a link between the characters and are fundamental for the movie to convey its ultimate message. Message is probably the wrong word; Your Name is not an intellectual movie of deep meanings and carefully worked out philosophies. It is, if you will pardon the corniness of the word, a movie of Heart. Somewhere along the lines of teenage dialogue and slapstick comedy burgeons a beautiful love story.

Technology-related plot-holes aside, the writing is admirable in its economy and efficacy. It gives you just enough of an idea to make you understand much more which permits it to do much more with its material than another movie would. As it explores the Freaky Friday side of the situation, instead of the inevitable parade of cringy situations before the characters figure out what is going on, it sets the situation and their confusion but then moves on. We are left to fill the gaps. The movie recognizes the more sultry possibilities afforded by the body-switching but does not indulge. Bless.

At one point I was hoping it actually would not devolve into a love story and would instead focus on themes of gender identity and possible alternate lives one might have had instead. I do not regret that it did not. That movie could have proved brilliant, but this one is too.

Most of the animation of the film is on the level of a fine anime series. In fact, the movie has an opening that comes straight out anime series openings. The virtuoso moments are saved for some later scenes, most of which involve a comet.  The visuals are gorgeous and striking. The entire movie is exquisitely crafted. The editing is quick paced and dynamic, with perfect transitions that culminate in two montages that perfectly set up the situations they are there to explain – with songs to shake things up a bit more. The animators knew what they were doing, and when it really mattered, they created the perfect tableaus.

Your Name is not always a happy movie. It is very melancholy and there are moments of deep sadness among all the fun.  That just makes it better.

8.5/10
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: It's Not a Wonderful Life
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2017, 12:24:32 PM »
I created an index for this thread with the contributions so far.
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