Author Topic: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!  (Read 9184 times)

Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2009, 04:52:24 PM »
#3
Barton Fink (1991)
Written & Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

Will Most Likely Contain Spoilers!!!
There hasn't been a Coen Brothers film I haven't liked. There have been ones that I haven't loved, though many I have, but I don't think I loved this one either. Certainly the story is curious and other technical aspects are outstanding, but it just didn't stand out otherwise to me. The production design, if that's what they're calling it these days, was wonderful. Period films like this, especially set in Los Angeles and the like are wonderful when done correctly and much like L.A. Confidential, the production design was done well. The whole look of the film, as always, is really great. Leave it to Roger Deakins and the Coen's to always manage to make a great looking film. The script is, I don't want to say simple or conventional, but it certainly doesn't play on fantasy and dreamworlds as much as the previous two in the marathon and in that regard it was a bit of a break for me, although I still managed to over analyze every scene in my notebook.

Barton Fink is a playwright on the rise in New York City. He has high standards of himself that do not equate with those of the critics or his fans. He is a moral man who is seeking to relay such themes and stories that portray the common man, his struggles, and his passions. I like Barton Fink. He an I think alike in this way. He even, initially, turns down an offer to go to Hollywood and write for the pictures, where he would make a fine buck because he wants to stay true to his ideals. Eventually he does succumb to the temptation and heads west. He meets with the eccentric movie exec, Lipnick, and has hopes of being able to exercise his own creativity, but when given a wrestling picture to write, he struggles. He meets his strange, insurance selling, neighbor Charlie, who is his only friend in this new town. Then crazy things happen and the film ends.

Some things that I noticed was the relation of the theme of his screenplay: wrestling. How fitting as he too is struggling with writing it amongst other things. His world is seemingly falling apart around him. There is a mosquito in his room that keeps biting him, sucking the life away from him like Hollywood is. His wallpaper is falling down from the heat of the summer, just like the walls of his conscious are being melted by the pressure he finds himself under as he struggles to find his story. His favorite writer, Mayhew, is now an alcoholic because of the pressure of writing, and Barton soon finds out that his wife/assistant Audrey has written most of his work. His hero is a fraud. And then he sleeps with her. But when he wakes up, she is covered in blood and dead. Charlie comes over to help deal with the situation, but we soon find out that it was he who killed her, and eventually beheads her and her husband Mayhew. Barton went away from his morals and Audrey got killed. As for the burning hotel room scene, here is my interpretation: the hotel was obviously not actually burning. Everybody that was there did nothing to indicate that it was. The burning hotel was just an effect to portray the heat and pressure that Barton was facing between Capitol Pictures and the mysterious death of Audrey right next to her. The presence of the cops and the realization that Charlie was a murderer also add to the climax.

There is one point during the film when Barton says to Charlie, as they are talking about family, that we are "all alone in the world" really. I was taken back with this line, in a good way though. It is such a profound statement, especially from someone in the state that Barton is in. We can surround ourselves with family and friends and others that may or may not be good to us, but in the end all we have is ourselves and our own ideals. What we do with them is what defines us as people. In the end of the film, Barton presents his screenplay to Lipnick, who has supported him all the way through and mentions that it is his "best work". Lipnick dismisses it, saying there isn't enough action in it. (Well at least it's nice to know that after all these years Aronofsky made his screenplay into a film when he made The Wrestler). But what does Barton Fink do in reaction to this? He leaves, just as he should and goes to the beach; the beach where he saw the girl in the photo in his hotel room sitting so peacefully. When he gets there, he sees a beautiful girl and asks if she is in the pictures. "Don't be silly," she answers him and that's the end. Perfect ending I must say. It's silly to think that something as pure and beautiful as her would be in the pictures, just like something as pure and beautiful as Barton's screenplay wouldn't be made into a picture. It is reaffirming to Barton in the end, as it should be; stick to your guns.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that the first film that came to mind in relation to this one was Adaptation. Both involve a struggling screenwriter and the search for a passion in the writing. Both are dramedies so to speak. The Coen Brothers have a certain way with comedy that is very subtle and, to this point, has never failed to amuse me. The Coen's films, however, are most often dramas. Fargo, No Country, A Serious Man and Miller's Crossing all have comedic aspects in them though as well. Pretty good overall film. For some reason I associate it with something like Miller's Crossing and when I do I think that film was better than this one, but still an enjoyable film experience.

Rating: ***

Mind Status: Well Mulholland Dr. is out of my mind, but analyzing these films so closely and paying this close attention to strange films has, admittedly, made my head start to hurt a little bit.
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

ferris

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2009, 05:51:56 PM »

Mind Status: Well Mulholland Dr. is out of my mind, but analyzing these films so closely and paying this close attention to strange films has, admittedly, made my head start to hurt a little bit.

Great.  I'm glad to hear it.  I am enjoying your reviews Corndog!  I appreciate you taking up this challenge.  I've got Barton Fink on Tivo downstairs and have only gotten about 1/2 hour into it.  Nothing out of the ordinary has happened yet.  Should I power through it?
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Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2009, 06:00:53 PM »

Mind Status: Well Mulholland Dr. is out of my mind, but analyzing these films so closely and paying this close attention to strange films has, admittedly, made my head start to hurt a little bit.

Great.  I'm glad to hear it.  I am enjoying your reviews Corndog!  I appreciate you taking up this challenge.  I've got Barton Fink on Tivo downstairs and have only gotten about 1/2 hour into it.  Nothing out of the ordinary has happened yet.  Should I power through it?

out of the ordinary doesn't ever really happen until near the end, though I would recommend watching the rest of it.
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

chardy999

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2009, 06:43:57 PM »
Corndog, the lesbian stuff in Mulholland Dr. is something like this I think: Diane is in love with Camilla but she is unfaithful, insensitive, cold, a better actor and takes pity on Diane. Diane then envisages (dreams) a world where she transforms into a better version of herself - the bubbly Betty (who is a great actor - which simly MUST be demonstrated in the acting audition and is >>> Naomi Watts is awesome) and Camilla becomes the amnesiac Rita who is everything Diane wanted Camilla to be: loving, warm, faithful and dependent on Betty.
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Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2009, 07:45:46 PM »
that's a good take chardy, I like it, it makes sense
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zarodinu

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2009, 08:08:47 PM »
Corndog, the lesbian stuff in Mulholland Dr. is something like this I think: Diane is in love with Camilla but she is unfaithful, insensitive, cold, a better actor and takes pity on Diane. Diane then envisages (dreams) a world where she transforms into a better version of herself - the bubbly Betty (who is a great actor - which simly MUST be demonstrated in the acting audition and is >>> Naomi Watts is awesome) and Camilla becomes the amnesiac Rita who is everything Diane wanted Camilla to be: loving, warm, faithful and dependent on Betty.

Good theory to tie everything together.  I think when it comes to Camilla/Rita the word dependent is key.
Iíve lied to men who wear belts. Iíve lied to men who wear suspenders. But Iíd never be so stupid as to lie to a man who wears both a belt and suspenders.

Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2009, 09:16:12 PM »
#4
Audition (2000)
Written by Daisuke Tengan; Directed by Takashi Miike

Will Most Likely Contain Spoilers
As soon as the story began I knew what my mission was going to be: find a motive. Although for a little more than an hour the film was nothing exciting and pretty bland and basic, I knew that sh!t was going to go down soon enough and I needed to know why. Like I said, for a little more than an hour the film was basic. I stayed along for the ride for the payoff in the end though. It starts with a man sitting next to a hospital bed where his wife has just died. Then we see him and a friend decide, seven years later, that he must remarry. In order to do so, they decide that they will hold a fake audition (his friend is in the movie industry). Here he finds a woman that catches his eye. They go on dates and talk extensively, but her references never check out and we are unsure if what we are learning about her is actually true or not. They decide to go away for a weekend together and that is when it starts to get weird.

The film is shot in what looks like a low budget style. The film is not the brightest or sharpest, but it works well enough for what it is. Miike by using good framing gets some good shots. Other than that the tecnical aspects of the film didn't really stand out to me. They weren't bad, but just not something I noticed in particular. Eihi Shiina did a good job playing a mysterious and demented Asami. Comedy arises surprisingly during the audition scene. They are interviewing 30 potential candidates, and the way it is edited is wonderful. It is past paced and all we see is some of the funny questions and answered the characters are giving.

They pay off was disturbing. We find out that Asami has been abused as a child and in her adult years, after hurting her hip and not being able to dance ballet anymore, her one true happiness, she seeks out revenge on the male race in particular. She has been lonely and feels that a man should love only her as she will love only them and show them all about her. But in this case, we don't know what is truth and what is fiction. We see that she has tortured her ballet instructor, Mr. Shimada, and has kept someone wrapped up in a sack in her apartment. This person has mangled body parts and is treated like something less than an animal. It really is disturbing, especially when she begins to torture Mr. Aoyama. I usually don't get queasy, but I had to turn away more than once. It isn't so much that it messed with my head though, but rather tested my intestinal fortitude. I passed, so far as I can tell, but it was not an enjoyable experience.

So far as finding the motive and piecing the story together, I don't know. They used some tricky flashback editing in the end. It made it seem like a dream for Mr. Aoyama sometimes, as he wakes up in the hotel they spent the weekend in, checks his feet and sees that they are both there, and Asami is asleep next to him this time. I'm not sure this part is anything more than a dream really, Aoyama dreaming as he is passed out in pain of what he hopes it is. And the motive? Well it appears that it's just good old fashioned revenge against men. The bar owner was a woman, but she was supposed killed over a conflict with a man and another woman. The ballet instructor burnt Asami in the upper leg, and the man in the sack? Well who really knows. Asami wasn't loved enough as a child, being moved around and abused. Not that that is an excuse, but it can certainly make someone mentally unstable and give someone motive.

The film reminded me a lot of Hard Candy really. The plot is slightly different, but the general idea is the same. When I saw that one I was repulsed and dismissed the film as trash for how much it disgusted me, but after letting it settle and thinking on it, I think it did a great job of executing exactly what it was going for, I mean it got that reaction out me, right? So maybe this one will be like that, but for right now, I don't think that the payoff in the end was enough to outweigh how uninterested I was in the first half of the film.

Rating: **1/2

Mind Status: This is one f-ed up world we live in where things like this are thought up by people and might actually happen sometimes. More of a visceral thing than a mind thing though really.
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

Bill Thompson

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2009, 03:40:14 AM »
I hope you come around on this one, because I love it. The payoff is less important to me than the excellent set-up, the mood and atmosphere Miike creates is out of this world and the tension of what will happen is wonderful to take in.

ferris

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2009, 09:19:29 AM »
Thanks for another great review.  I like your comment under "mind status".  And as to your comment about the last 1/3 "making up for" the earlier sections, I'm probably with you on that.   I'm less sustained by "mood and atmosphere" than most cinephiles.   But I'm the guy who is on record for saying In the Mood for Love would make a better short subject - so what do I know?

(I'm surprised your marathon has not garnered more attention so far?  Maybe cuz of the holdays?  Hopefully will be catching up with them soon)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2009, 09:25:02 AM by ferris »
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
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Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2009, 09:30:59 AM »
Thanks for another great review.  I like your comment under "mind status".  And as to your comment about the last 1/3 "making up for" the earlier sections, I'm probably with you on that.   I'm less sustained by "mood and atmosphere" than most cinephiles.   But I'm the guy who is on record for saying In the Mood for Love would make a better short subject - so what do I know?

(I'm surprised your marathon has not garnered more attention so far?  Maybe cuz of the holdays?  Hopefully will be catching up with them soon)

Maybe because I have three marathons on-going and I haven't finished one yet. I hope this one will be finished shortly though. Then I can get through the rest of my Hitchcock. And of course the Disney one is so long it will be ongoing for some time now.
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."