Author Topic: Top 100 Club: JDC  (Read 7602 times)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #150 on: February 25, 2021, 09:30:19 PM »
Take Shelter



For the past few weeks, I've been listening to 20 minutes of rain sounds as I've gone to bed. It's been semi-useful. Last night after watching Take Shelter, I forwent that little practice.

I used to loved the sound of rain, but in the last house I lived in, my basement flooded whenever there was a heavy rain. The sound became a sense of dread. After I moved, it took a long time for me to feel peaceful when it rained, but slowly I learned to love the sound again. That is until last night. Thanks a lot, Take Shelter. :D

For some reason, I thought this movie was something different. I was expecting another outcome. I should have paid more attention to who directed it and then I might not have been so surprised. It's a well executed story and whether it's about coming to terms with mental illness, or coming to terms with premonition, the one thing that is true with either of these possibilities is that overall it's a story about love and devotion. It reminds me of Ivy and Lucius in The Village. They're a couple who would do anything and did do everything in service of the other. Here, Curtis and Samantha are doing everything in their power to do the same. And with a simple word at the end, the efforts are justified.

"Love, reign o'er me, rain on me" - The Who

« Last Edit: February 25, 2021, 09:33:19 PM by Sandy »

jdc

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #151 on: February 25, 2021, 09:41:45 PM »
Take Shelter
This is a rewatch for me, but I figured we could talk about it here. Essentially, everything in the plot is designed to make Curtis look as if he were experiencing a severe mental health condition, but then all of our expectations and understandings are subverted with that brief, but impactful final scene. I haven't seen it in a good while (it's ten years old now!), but I remember what I liked so much about it, primarily in the imagery. This is some of my favorite use of CGI in a film, it works fairly naturally within the story, while providing an extra punch that recording regular storms and trying some fancy editing might not be able to accomplish. The flock of birds, the levitating furniture, the grand and amazing storms - to be honest, I will likely continue watching this film into the future just because of those hair-raising images/premonitions. Shannon and Chastain are also pretty great. Shannon really embodies Curtis' paranoia and his troubled nature, and is quite method in his approach.

The question is: What does it all mean? I don't necessarily watch movies for a grand meaning; some require them more than others. But for this one, the topicality (mental illness) seems like it ought to lead us somewhere profound. However, the finale seems to be more about leaving us with one of those "Whoa...wait, what?" reactions that are often not very meaningful at all. So Curtis was experiencing premonitions of the future. What does that mean for everything we saw previously in the film? The degradation of his familial relationships and friendships? It seems like a lot of this film was about mental health, but the conclusion pulls the rug from under us and possibly renders everything else we've seen as meaningless. If he isn't experiencing mental health issues, then what? It can't just be in the negative, He is not experiencing mental health issues, because making a film to show someone is not experiencing something makes no sense. What is it, then? I don't have a great interpretation right now. This most recent viewing has left me with more questions than answers. Sometimes the film enthusiast may just leave it at that. What do you think?

As far as the ending, I am in the same boat as you but leaving it that way never bothers me. Probably a few of my films will end in such a way with characters that seem to be losing their grip on reality, such as Birdman, Naked Lunch or Barton Fink. I have no idea of Jeff Nichols ever offers an opinion as I choose not to find out, though there are probably many opinions, perhaps from Filmspotting as well, that  can explore.  But if knowing that answer, change how you feel overall about the film in a bad way?  If so, then best to be left unanswered.

I agree with you on the visual elements (I think Looper uses a similar room floating scene) but I think what hooked me is the relationship between Shannon and Chastain, it never feels false.  She empathise but does not enable and makes him decide if there is a future or not
"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  Homer S.
“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

jdc

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #152 on: February 25, 2021, 09:48:57 PM »
Take Shelter
I used to loved the sound of rain, but in the last house I lived in, my basement flooded whenever there was a heavy rain. The sound became a sense of dread. After I moved, it took a long time for me to feel peaceful when it rained, but slowly I learned to love the sound again. That is until last night. Thanks a lot, Take Shelter. :D

Did you two watch the film together?

I don’t have the flooding issue but my back porch is covered by a tin roof, so a heavy rain is never peaceful, something like this turned up to full volume

https://youtu.be/XpallRlzxPk

"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  Homer S.
“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #153 on: February 25, 2021, 11:01:00 PM »
Take Shelter
This is a rewatch for me, but I figured we could talk about it here. Essentially, everything in the plot is designed to make Curtis look as if he were experiencing a severe mental health condition, but then all of our expectations and understandings are subverted with that brief, but impactful final scene. I haven't seen it in a good while (it's ten years old now!), but I remember what I liked so much about it, primarily in the imagery. This is some of my favorite use of CGI in a film, it works fairly naturally within the story, while providing an extra punch that recording regular storms and trying some fancy editing might not be able to accomplish. The flock of birds, the levitating furniture, the grand and amazing storms - to be honest, I will likely continue watching this film into the future just because of those hair-raising images/premonitions. Shannon and Chastain are also pretty great. Shannon really embodies Curtis' paranoia and his troubled nature, and is quite method in his approach.

The question is: What does it all mean? I don't necessarily watch movies for a grand meaning; some require them more than others. But for this one, the topicality (mental illness) seems like it ought to lead us somewhere profound. However, the finale seems to be more about leaving us with one of those "Whoa...wait, what?" reactions that are often not very meaningful at all. So Curtis was experiencing premonitions of the future. What does that mean for everything we saw previously in the film? The degradation of his familial relationships and friendships? It seems like a lot of this film was about mental health, but the conclusion pulls the rug from under us and possibly renders everything else we've seen as meaningless. If he isn't experiencing mental health issues, then what? It can't just be in the negative, He is not experiencing mental health issues, because making a film to show someone is not experiencing something makes no sense. What is it, then? I don't have a great interpretation right now. This most recent viewing has left me with more questions than answers. Sometimes the film enthusiast may just leave it at that. What do you think?

As far as the ending, I am in the same boat as you but leaving it that way never bothers me. Probably a few of my films will end in such a way with characters that seem to be losing their grip on reality, such as Birdman, Naked Lunch or Barton Fink. I have no idea of Jeff Nichols ever offers an opinion as I choose not to find out, though there are probably many opinions, perhaps from Filmspotting as well, that  can explore.  But if knowing that answer, change how you feel overall about the film in a bad way?  If so, then best to be left unanswered.

I agree with you on the visual elements (I think Looper uses a similar room floating scene) but I think what hooked me is the relationship between Shannon and Chastain, it never feels false.  She empathise but does not enable and makes him decide if there is a future or not

I would say that I like the movie a little bit less. It moved me a little less than I think it did before. Some movies are ambiguous, and I tend to enjoy a level of ambiguity in just about everything, but I'm having a hard time figuring out if the ending is so ambiguous, or if I just don't get it. Either way, as far human dramas go, I didn't find it as compelling as perhaps I did when I originally saw it. Your description of the Shannon and Chastain dynamic is quite eloquent, but while I think they have some chemistry, I don't think it's in my upper echelon of family dramas. I still have the rating as a 4/5 on Letterboxd, so I still think it's great, but the ending, which used to fill me with a bit of awe, now leaves me just a hair ambivalent in my confusion.
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #154 on: February 27, 2021, 10:37:09 PM »
Benny's Video
So, Mr. JDC, how do you feel about psychopaths? I got two from Kanako, and now Benny. This is an instant reaction, I just played Death Stranding for an hour in between viewing the film and writing here, and that's about it for cushion and processing. I also saw it after watching Wreck-It Ralph, which I find to be very optimistic and comforting. I know movies nor art have a primary purpose of comforting us. If anything, I've perhaps become a little weaker mentally as I've pampered my psyche with warm-blanket type films. With Benny, I at least felt challenged. This is another one of your films about people confronting terrible situations and being forced to make big decisions on the fly that reveal something about human nature. I think it's probably a bit cynical, as is Kanako, whereas Take Shelter and The New World are a lot more loving and generous in nature. But then, it'd be hard to contend that there aren't people like Benny in the world, and it's a moral problem in how we deal with them. But now I should probably stop talking in generalizations, and be more specific.

Benny is video crazed, and the point here is that these videos, seeing things through a screen/a filter is a process of dehumanization. I think Haneke has something fairly interesting to say about the process of filming and rewatching films in that we become numb to the actual world around us. Benny has probably seen the video that begins the proceedings, the execution of the pig, plenty of times. As someone who has seen a lot of animal cruelty captured on tape, it never ceases to disturb me, but I think we all have different levels to how we react to the filming of cruelty. Benny is on the other end of the spectrum from me, which makes this all the more interesting as a viewing. Now, when he kills the girl that he lures up to his apartment, there seems to be the insinuation that the dehumanizing forces of repeated viewing of videos, indeed the compulsion to view the world this way, can have drastic consequences on the psyche that can lead to the feeling that all is permitted. Benny does what he does with nearly the emotion of the person executing the pig. He kills to see what it feels like, as if it were just another experience to which he was entitled.

The father makes another pivotal decision, which is mostly rooted in self-preservation: Dispose of the body discretely while Benny and the mother take a trip to Egypt. That Benny turns around and calls the police on his parents after returning is radical and difficult to comprehend. It's as if he's pulling levers to watch the outcome. Again, if life is like a video, and experiences are his to seize upon, then Benny simply seems to operate in a detached and curious manner that only the most dangerous people possess.

Haneke obviously put intense thought into the videos that he'd play as well as create. All of the TV clips and homemade videos create both a scrabbled and impressionistic effect. We are bombarded with so many images, many of which feel random, that my mind mostly discarded as soon as I saw them. This could be perceived as a commentary on the disposable nature of filmed moments, foreshadowing the effect YouTube would have on us a few decades later. I find this film incredibly successful in what it's trying to achieve. Although I can have a hard time with such unlikable characters, the attention to detail in regards to video-taping and filming as well as the lofty thematic content make this a winner for me.

-----

PS, on JDC's film month: Gummo was just too low-res for me to finish. I also couldn't find a suitable stream for Naked Lunch, but I'm glad at least you got me interested in the book again.
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #155 on: February 27, 2021, 11:31:11 PM »
I don’t have the flooding issue but my back porch is covered by a tin roof, so a heavy rain is never peaceful, something like this turned up to full volume...

You're right! That is NOT peaceful.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #156 on: February 28, 2021, 06:19:48 AM »
Freaks (1932 Tod Browning)

The initial scroll shows great concern for people born with deformities and the terrible shunning they receive from society. While still not castigating those who do the shunning. It talks about how those with deformities are people also with thoughts and feelings.  The scroll would not pass current must because it still talks of modern science soon being able to cure these things.

The film held good on its promise of treating these people as people with thoughts and feelings. While scenes like the one showing the man with no arms or legs lighting a cigarette has the possibility of being wrong footed, the ignoring of it by the other character in the scene lifts to one that shows the mundanity of the act in this person's life. The acting is patchy, but the story and characters are interesting. Those combined with Browning's use of rain and shadows, really lifts this film. The later scenes with the little people watching from under the wagons, with the stripy lighting on their faces, created a great mood, for the building finale. The hunting down of the strong man was scary, very scary, that scene will stick with me for a while.

This was also clearly a pre-code film as various relationships were clearly indicated to be consummate outside of marriage.

Rating: 81 / 100

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #157 on: March 02, 2021, 11:59:18 PM »
Being John Malkovich



When I wrote about Adaptation, I made sure to mention how brave Susan Orlean was to green light the project. She hadn't even finished the book yet and then came to find out she, herself, was going to be a highly unstable character in the movie version of it. That takes an incredible amount of good humor and que sera sera.

Once again a real person takes a huge leap of faith to not only add his name to a film, but to allow it to reach into his very psyche, walk through his sub-conscience memories (whether real, or imagined), and then change who's in the driver's seat to his very soul. I cannot fathom how Mr. Malkovich must have felt being presented the concept and then reading the actual script. He knew that there would be no getting away from this for the rest of his life. It would follow him always for its success or failure. With a sigh of relief for him, I'm so gratified to know that the film is a stroke of genius and Mr. Malkovich can rest easy that his name is attached to such a creative endeavor. He, in no small way, made it thus and was also fortunate to have such talented support from the other players. They just went with it, nothing held back.

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jdc

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #158 on: March 03, 2021, 01:29:14 AM »
Benny's Video
So, Mr. JDC, how do you feel about psychopaths? I got two from Kanako, and now Benny. This is an instant reaction, I just played Death Stranding for an hour in between viewing the film and writing here, and that's about it for cushion and processing. I also saw it after watching Wreck-It Ralph, which I find to be very optimistic and comforting. I know movies nor art have a primary purpose of comforting us. If anything, I've perhaps become a little weaker mentally as I've pampered my psyche with warm-blanket type films. With Benny, I at least felt challenged. This is another one of your films about people confronting terrible situations and being forced to make big decisions on the fly that reveal something about human nature. I think it's probably a bit cynical, as is Kanako, whereas Take Shelter and The New World are a lot more loving and generous in nature. But then, it'd be hard to contend that there aren't people like Benny in the world, and it's a moral problem in how we deal with them. But now I should probably stop talking in generalizations, and be more specific.

Benny is video crazed, and the point here is that these videos, seeing things through a screen/a filter is a process of dehumanization. I think Haneke has something fairly interesting to say about the process of filming and rewatching films in that we become numb to the actual world around us. Benny has probably seen the video that begins the proceedings, the execution of the pig, plenty of times. As someone who has seen a lot of animal cruelty captured on tape, it never ceases to disturb me, but I think we all have different levels to how we react to the filming of cruelty. Benny is on the other end of the spectrum from me, which makes this all the more interesting as a viewing. Now, when he kills the girl that he lures up to his apartment, there seems to be the insinuation that the dehumanizing forces of repeated viewing of videos, indeed the compulsion to view the world this way, can have drastic consequences on the psyche that can lead to the feeling that all is permitted. Benny does what he does with nearly the emotion of the person executing the pig. He kills to see what it feels like, as if it were just another experience to which he was entitled.

The father makes another pivotal decision, which is mostly rooted in self-preservation: Dispose of the body discretely while Benny and the mother take a trip to Egypt. That Benny turns around and calls the police on his parents after returning is radical and difficult to comprehend. It's as if he's pulling levers to watch the outcome. Again, if life is like a video, and experiences are his to seize upon, then Benny simply seems to operate in a detached and curious manner that only the most dangerous people possess.

Haneke obviously put intense thought into the videos that he'd play as well as create. All of the TV clips and homemade videos create both a scrabbled and impressionistic effect. We are bombarded with so many images, many of which feel random, that my mind mostly discarded as soon as I saw them. This could be perceived as a commentary on the disposable nature of filmed moments, foreshadowing the effect YouTube would have on us a few decades later. I find this film incredibly successful in what it's trying to achieve. Although I can have a hard time with such unlikable characters, the attention to detail in regards to video-taping and filming as well as the lofty thematic content make this a winner for me.

-----

PS, on JDC's film month: Gummo was just too low-res for me to finish. I also couldn't find a suitable stream for Naked Lunch, but I'm glad at least you got me interested in the book again.

 Benny seems to react like the best way to experience the world  is to watch it on a screen and if its on screen, it is not really real??  Even after killing the girl, he seems to have no concern to watch the video knowing his parents are going to see it.  Was it the plan all along to frame his parents? I am not sure, but his parents at this point have to realise that their son is a psychopath, no question about it, there is no accident or act of passion, yet they still make the choice to help cover up the crime.  They should have known better after what they witnessed and they end up paying the price.
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“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

jdc

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Re: Top 100 Club: JDC
« Reply #159 on: March 04, 2021, 06:03:08 AM »

PS, on JDC's film month: Gummo was just too low-res for me to finish. I also couldn't find a suitable stream for Naked Lunch, but I'm glad at least you got me interested in the book again.

I believe Gummo is mostly on 35mm but with mixture of different formats intermixed. But the end product is not made to look very nice, most like filmed on video tape I would guess.  When I first watched it, it would have been on 21 or 24” CRT TV from a video tape, so the Low-red quality was not too far off from the norm of the day. 

I think the last I watched it was 4 or 5 years ago on a laptop while traveling, couldn’t get my wife interested at all.  I haven’t tried to watch it from a projector but maybe rewatch it next month when I have more movie freedom.

If anybody is interested, you can stream it from here:

https://vimeo.com/388834918

Sandy, I’ll likely respond this weekend.. the last 2 weeks of work is killing me...
"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  Homer S.
“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

 

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