JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:22 pm

Saw three Robert Bresson movies at the just-concluded retrospective of his work at the Film Forum theater in NYC (all 35mm prints):

A MAN ESCAPED (1956) for the first time. Bresson constructs a prison escape movie out of his and Andre Devigny's (on whom the protagonist's story is based) personal WWII experiences with as pared-down and minimalist a cinematic approach as we've come to expect from the man. Even the supporting performers are in and out of sight faster than Bresson can dissolve between shots to imply (rather than show) physical violence and/or the slow passage of time. For the first 10 min. I was annoyed at Fontaine (Alan Alda-lookalike François Leterrier) and his constant stating-the-obvious dull monologues. But then I completely got lost in the little details, menusha, routines and you-are-there observations of a man determined against all odds (and willing to die) to escape his Nazi captors. The sound in "A Man Escaped" is incredible considering we spend 90% of the movie indoor with Fontaine in his cell. Without showing us anything (or very little) Bresson constructs out of whistles, train engines, bicycle gears, people laughing/talking in the distance and other sounds a world worth risking one's life for. At the end of this screening (the very last Bresson showing of a two-week retrospective) the entire theater broke out in unprompted, enthusiastic applause. Still not sure if we were applauding the movie's conclusion or the two-week chance to see Bresson movies on the big screen that prompted the applause. :)

THE DEVIL, PROBABLY (1977) for the first time. After the novelty of seeing a Bresson movie in color wears off (about 5 minutes in) you realize that, by this time in his life, the creator of "Au hasard Balthazar" and "Mouchette" had given up hope for the humanity he still found in some characters/situations in his previous movies. Through the person of Charles (Antoinne Moinner, who looks like a model for a Calvin Klein perfume commercial) and his circle of good-looking but emotionally stunted friends (Tina Irissari's Alberte, Laetitia Carcano's Edwige and Henri de Maublanc's Michel) that see the world in environmental/war/poverty/social crisis, Bresson portrays a cold and going-to-hell attittude that justifies the self-destructing efforts of Charles as well as the passivity of his friends in the face of Charles' inevitable march toward the fate Bresson shows us at the start of the movie (the story is a six-month flashback). Not even a "love triangle" between Charles, Alberte and Edwige carries narrative weight beyond showing us how desillusioned with 'normalcy' these youths are. And, since Bresson makes it clear early in his career that he only saw actors as 'models' to carry out his observations more than living/breathing characters, the typical argument that an old director doesn't understand contemporary youth doesn't apply to "The Devil, Probably." These aren't meant to be real young Frenchmen circa 1977 (like the one's at a political rally that Charles and his friends attend and quickly leave), but French youth as Bresson perceived them (internally) to be soaking up the crummy world around them. The scene between Charles and a psychiatrist (Régis Hanrion) during an intervention is both sad, hilarious and the beginning of the end for the former's self-imposed (but, based on the narrative, totally justified to Bresson given the perceived world Charles lives in) guilt trip for not wanting to contribute to a society he doesn't want to be a part of.

As a former Catholic the ending struck me as a mini-masterpiece of viewer interpretation. Most people just see a youth in revolt taking his self-destructive actions to their only logical extreme. Even though Charles arranges for his friend to shoot him, technically it wasn't Charles who pulls the gun trigger. His drug-addicted friend did, at Charles' behest but in that next-to-last shot you could see some malice and intent in the shooter. So, somewhere in the back of Charles' mind, asking his friend to shoot him was like an afterlife insurance policy that shows that deep within him he still believed in (or was afraid of) God and being denied an afterlife because Charles committed suirice. But, if there's a shred of belief in God in Charles (which he rejected with every fiber of his intellectualizing being), how could he have swindled his drug-addicted friend to commit the even bigger sin of killing another human being? "The Devil, Probably" is a bleak movie, but not a boring one and it has more to tell in any five of its 95 minutes that most Hollywood movies put together in a year say about the complexity of the human experience.

L'ARGENT (1983) for the first time. If "The Devil, Probably" was the world going to hell then "L'argent" is hell on Earth. The old saying 'money is the root of all evil' (which I don't recall actually being used in the movie) starts here with some forged bills in the hands of some well-off kids that start a chain reaction that results, many years and unrelated events later, in the deaths of many innocent people (and, since this is a Bresson movie in which even the life of a wife beater husband has some worth, the guilty too) at the hands of a once-normal person driven mad by life's circumstances. But is the employee that lies in court to convict the wrong man for a crime he didn't commit any more responsible than the wife of the condemned man that abandons him when he goes away to prison for actions beyond their control? Imagine Fontaine from "A Man Escaped" if he hadn't succeeded at escaping his Nazi captors, then he snaps and is released to the post-WWII French world as an amoral monster. That's "L'argent," with Bresson at his most nihilist, pessimist and, ironically, at his most liberated state given this was his last movie. Like when Ozu moved his camera late in his career, the sight and sounds of a car chase in the movie shocked me. The Bressonian cut-away-from-a-violent-action-that-makes-the-unseen-act-feel-more-violent effect gets the added impact of gore, making this relatively-tame French movie every bit as disturbing (in its own way) as "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer." The same way Bresson absolves the sins of his catatonic youths in "The Devil, Probably" by portraying a modern world that doesn't regard people as individuals with humanity, Bresson doesn't seem to relish his cinematic portrayal in "L'argent" of how easy it is for society and life to turn a once-productive citizen into a monster. It's Bresson's final, and ultimately fatalistic, cinematic portrayal of what happens when the presence/absence of God in man's life results in a chain reaction of crap for everyone involved. When the movie ended the entire sold-out theater remained seated in silence for a full minute after the lights were turned on and, gradually, began leaving the theater without saying a word. The closest I've been part of something similar was after a screening of "Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom." :?

Watching this and "The Devil, Probably" I was fascinated by the minimalist film language at work (people opening/closing doors, the camera holding on to an empty space where a character was standing a few minutes before, all-envolving sound to create mood/place, mannequin-like acting, etc.) which Bresson by this time had perfected into a science. Bluntly put, if you don't know 'Bressonian' film language it's impossible to enjoy many of his movies because to a layman Bresson's movies will seem weird and off (especially his post-60's work). While there was a part of me thrilled at knowing I was part of a small group of lucky cinephiles that can appreciate Bresson's work it also saddened me that, except for places like this forum, I cannot share my passion and love for Bresson with many friends and family members (YMMV). They're normal people that cannot even begin to wrap their heads around the ideas and styles that Bresson brought to his movies. And this makes me a sad panda! :(
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Dan Mancini » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:50 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:And, since Bresson makes it clear early in his career that he only saw actors as 'models' to carry out his observations more than living/breathing characters...

The opposite is true. Bresson rejected theatricality in film acting because he wanted to present living/breathing characters. He rejected the actors' craft, not their humanity.

J.M. Vargas wrote:That's "L'argent," with Bresson at his most nihilist, pessimist and, ironically, at his most liberated state given this was his last movie.

Bresson wasn't a nihilist, not even in his late period. Elements of redemption and transcendence remain in his later films, but mostly in the negative as he became more explicit in his criticism of French society. The tension we feel in our guts when watching a flick like L'Argent is that Yvon is both a villain and a victim. In a way, his spiral is the result of an absence of grace. Bresson's power is that he was able to explore that kind of stuff without getting reductionist or preachy. That may make it feel like nihilism from time to time, but it never is.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:45 am

I haven't seen all of Bresson's movies (five total, with "Diary of a Country Priest" on tap for this weekend) but I can't help but feel like "L'argent" is nihilist coming from the man that made in "Au hasard Balthazar" [spoiler]the passing of a donkey feel like a religious experience[/spoiler], or in "Mouchette" [spoiler]a saint out of an unlikable put-upon little girl[/spoiler]. If a religious movie director (even one as conflicted about his faith as to have called himself a 'Catholic Atheist') leaves as his last movie the story of how the absence of God in society resulting in the events that both happened to Yvon and that he then does to others (innocent as well as evil), how can you not read that as 'comparatively nihilist' based on his trajectory from earlier films to his last two? BTW, I wasn't the only one using the word 'nihilist' at the end of both "L'argent" and "The Devil, Probably" in the lobby of the theater I watched both. Talking to other patrons the word was freely flowing around, so it's possible for a bunch of expert cinephile New Yorkers to be wrong, but also be right, about our perception of Bresson's late color period as nihilist with a touch of redemption on the side (so small as to potentially be ignored) compared with his earlier work. YMMV (it's Bresson!) but I'm sticking with nihilist to describe "L'argent" (the redemptive aspects of "The Devil, Probably" are more readily aparent to me than any in "L'argent").

Saw John Carpenter's VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1995) at the IFC Center in NYC for the first time last night. This theater is running a months-long retrospective of Carpenter's work, showing his 'A' and 'B' titles simutaneously on two screens at midnight on weekends. Since I've seen "The Thing" more times than I care to remember I went instead with the mid-90's horror remake I hadn't seen, and 40 minutes into it the 35mm print broke. Almost a half-hour later the film came back on and, sadly, the movie resumed. :o I keed, I keed... but seriously, this feels like Carpenter's work-for-hire "Christine" of the 1990's. It doesn't help that either the screenplay is off or scenes were cut out that make passage of time seem either abrupt or non-existent. The music is really bad in a 'banging the synthesizer' way, courtesy of Carpenter and another not-Alan-Howarth composer. Whatever good elements "Village of the Damned" has (creepy atmosphere, the spare and effective use of Michael Paré, Christopher Reeve & Mark Hamill becoming effective surrogates for Tom Atkins & Charles Cyphers, Kirstie Alley as a 'man in black' type scientist, low-budget but fun special effects, disturbing but not explicit violence, great use of anamorphic frame, etc.) are the minimum you expect Carpenter to bring to his work. The movie's premise (and Carpenter's visual recreation of the '60 version's visual motiffs) do most of the heavy lifting, especially when some SFX shots/action scenes look cheap because a lot of the budget got eaten by the then-fancy CGI eye-glow effects. I'm glad I saw "Village of the Damned" but it reminded me more of the state of horror movies in the 1990's before "Scream" than the glory Carpenter era of '77 to '92.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Dan Mancini » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:53 pm

J.M. Vargas wrote:I haven't seen all of Bresson's movies (five total, with "Diary of a Country Priest" on tap for this weekend) but I can't help but feel like "L'argent" is nihilist coming from the man that made in "Au hasard Balthazar" [spoiler]the passing of a donkey feel like a religious experience[/spoiler], or in "Mouchette" [spoiler]a saint out of an unlikable put-upon little girl[/spoiler]. If a religious movie director (even one as conflicted about his faith as to have called himself a 'Catholic Atheist') leaves as his last movie the story of how the absence of God in society resulting in the events that both happened to Yvon and that he then does to others (innocent as well as evil), how can you not read that as 'comparatively nihilist' based on his trajectory from earlier films to his last two? BTW, I wasn't the only one using the word 'nihilist' at the end of both "L'argent" and "The Devil, Probably" in the lobby of the theater I watched both. Talking to other patrons the word was freely flowing around, so it's possible for a bunch of expert cinephile New Yorkers to be wrong, but also be right, about our perception of Bresson's late color period as nihilist with a touch of redemption on the side (so small as to potentially be ignored) compared with his earlier work. YMMV (it's Bresson!) but I'm sticking with nihilist to describe "L'argent" (the redemptive aspects of "The Devil, Probably" are more readily aparent to me than any in "L'argent").

There's no such thing as nihilism with a touch of redemption. The two are antithetical. The problem is that people use "nihilism" when they mean "bleak" because "nihilism" sounds more sophisticated. But the two aren't synonyms. Nihilism is the belief that life is meaningless. L'Argent is bleak, but it's not nihilistic. Bresson's films are powerful because he asserts that life, no matter how awful, has meaning.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Andrew Forbes » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:15 pm

Extreme Prejudice. Walter Hill directing a John Milius plot, starring Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe, Michael Ironside, Clancy Brown, Rip Torn, "Tiny" Lister and William Forsythe. My chest is now covered in a thick, lustrous coat of fur, and I've developed the ability to flex my crotch.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:02 pm

RED - am i wrong? is this a bad good movie or just a really GOOD bad movie? it silly and it makes me grin ear to ear.
glad i bought it.
Star Trek still good...but the more often i watch it, the more it occurs to me that it moves like freaking gangbusters and over much to quick.

Zen series 1 damn fine tv. i hope they make another season, though i can see these are expensive.
Rufus Sewell is excellent as the Italian Detective, production us great... it's very stylish, very 70s sleek, suits, music, cars
check it out.

Bitter Feast (2010) thoroughly predictable indy film, crazy guy kidnaps his enemy. But it's foodie related..and James LeGros does a great parody of the typical celebrity chef..and in 1 scene Mario Batali proves he can't act and looks like an inflated red balloon even more than normal. The scenes with the food prep are lovingly shot.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:48 pm

Taken - Second viewing. It takes itself seriously, and Liam Neeson is an interesting hero because of the lack of respect people seem to have for him, until the rare moment comes along when he's needed, and you see what he's capable of. It's a perfect fit for Neeson too, who up till this point was never a huge action guy, then when it comes time for him to perform, holy crap is he totally believable as a wholly capable assassin. His character oozes experience, every action he does is so methodically planned, like he's routinely done this so many times before.

His daughter is just...odd. She's a 17 year old character, played by a 24ish year old, who seems to behave like a ten year old. Her shoulders-first run that she does, is distracting. And she gets a pony. I see what they tried to do, show the most innocent character possible, so you can be as mad as Neeson when they try to make her into a sex slave. She just seems way to old, and you'd think that such an amazing killer would train his daughter a bit more. One of the podcasts here suggested that this was meant to be a much younger girl, but the filmmakers were nervous about turning an actual young girl into a sex slave.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - So much fun. Parts are stupid, but so many scenes hit the nail on the head. A garage metal band's music creating a future utopia? Awesome. And crazily enough, they do something interesting with time travel: when they get stuck they remind themselves to come back later and plant props to help them out. This never fails to leave a smile on my face.

Predator - For 80's action flicks, this is as good as they get. Fun and serious at the same time, with one of the most memorable monsters in movie history. Each character gets a few good moments before they get offed, and excellent direction from John McTiernan.

Total Recall - Hadn't seen this one in at least a decade, but I'd seen this so many times growing up. It just felt off. It actually has a great plot that remains ambiguous, while being an insane crazy Arnold movie. But the tone was just strange, like it was almost there but didn't quite know what it wanted to be. Was it an intelligent movie that had something to say, or pure Verhoeven excess? Robocop I think is a perfect movie, and this one tries it's best to get there. At least we get the greatest Arnold one-liner of all time: "See you at the party Richter!"

Drag Me to Hell - Another new favorite, third viewing. It starts out straightforward, but the fight sequences against the old woman are shocking but freaking hilarious. Just about every attack had me belly laughing. This is about closest in tone to Raimi's Evil Dead II, successfully horror & zany comedy at the same time. There's a certain point where Christine turns into Ash, and it's a crowdpleasing moment.
SPOILERS - The ending divides people on this one, and I'm not sure how I feel. There's some sort of rule that horror movies need to have the monster win right as the credits roll, but everything that's happened up till that point seems pointless. And that button/coin swap I think everybody saw coming. But still, the direction is what gets me to come back to this one.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Attrage » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:29 am

^ Taken - agree with you on this one. I didnt have much to say about it the first time I saw it, but gave it a second viewing months later and started appreciating the nuances of Neeson's characterisation. He's brilliant in it, and as you say, totally believable as the badass he is in it. I think you're onto something with the "shying away" from using a younger girl. Sex trafficking in young girls is an atrocious reality but it no doubt would have made the film far less "Hollywood" (and thus far less successful) than it was.

Predator - my thoughts on this one are well known. McTiernan is a kick ass director and the entire cast is excellent.

Total Recall - can't agree with you totally on this one. For me, the film is lacking nothing, and has all the gruesome excess of the perfect pairing - Arnie in his prime, and the fantastically deranged Paul Verhoeven at the helm. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my favourite moment (though the Richter arm-lop is great, admittedly), is the bit where Arnie uses an innocent guy as a human shield and then Verhoeven adds insult to injury by showing the bad guys then stepping on the body. The complete lack of sentiment there is why I love Verhoeven so much (and have been accused by someone I watched it with as being "heartless" LOL)
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:35 am

Attrage wrote:Total Recall - can't agree with you totally on this one. For me, the film is lacking nothing, and has all the gruesome excess of the perfect pairing - Arnie in his prime, and the fantastically deranged Paul Verhoeven at the helm. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my favourite moment (though the Richter arm-lop is great, admittedly), is the bit where Arnie uses an innocent guy as a human shield and then Verhoeven adds insult to injury by showing the bad guys then stepping on the body. The complete lack of sentiment there is why I love Verhoeven so much (and have been accused by someone I watched it with as being "heartless" LOL)



Total Recall SPOILERS -
The excess is done well but it doesn't match the story IMO. Why does a story that questions reality, and asks who a person is, need that sort of violence to illustrate it? A hero being created by the villain's sidekick going "undercover" by having his mind changed into a different person is so interesting. How does a 3-titted woman help that idea?

Again I have to compare this to Verhoeven's other Robocop. That whole movie is a satire of 80's excess and commercialism, corporations gone wild. The insane violence & gore go well with that statement to further illustrate that excess. It feels like it has a place there, but not so much with Total Recall.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Dunnyman » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:05 am

mavrach wrote:
Attrage wrote:Total Recall - can't agree with you totally on this one. For me, the film is lacking nothing, and has all the gruesome excess of the perfect pairing - Arnie in his prime, and the fantastically deranged Paul Verhoeven at the helm. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my favourite moment (though the Richter arm-lop is great, admittedly), is the bit where Arnie uses an innocent guy as a human shield and then Verhoeven adds insult to injury by showing the bad guys then stepping on the body. The complete lack of sentiment there is why I love Verhoeven so much (and have been accused by someone I watched it with as being "heartless" LOL)



Total Recall SPOILERS -
The excess is done well but it doesn't match the story IMO. Why does a story that questions reality, and asks who a person is, need that sort of violence to illustrate it? A hero being created by the villain's sidekick going "undercover" by having his mind changed into a different person is so interesting. How does a 3-titted woman help that idea?


Because a 3 titted woman in 1990 was a guarantee of X amount of box office cash. Duh.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:53 pm

mavrach wrote:Taken - Second viewing. His daughter is just...odd. She's a 17 year old character, played by a 24ish year old, who seems to behave like a ten year old. One of the podcasts here suggested that this was meant to be a much younger girl, but the filmmakers were nervous about turning an actual young girl into a sex slave.
That would be the 'F This Movie' podcast of 'Taken.' The last 10 minutes in which co-host Mark Ahn describes his real-life experience of being adbucted as a little kid is one of the most incredible things I've heard. It elevates the podcast from mere movie curiosity to statement of authenticity (minus the ass-kicking Neeson part) about the stuff depicted in the movie.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby molly1216 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:06 pm

Wings (1927) it is worth sitting through all the traditional two guys one girl shtick to get to the battle scenes...oh my freaking god...those stunt guys were insane..and from what i learned watching the documentary before hand..the director and stars were none to careful either. they MADE one of them learn to fly so they should shoot him flying. must see viewing kiddies. no cgi here. just testosterone and tanks
this was definitely the best picture of the year...and forgive me Mr Demille, i think this was the best picture made up until that point.
btw this new release - the track with the new music..also has a full on battle scene sounds effects, engines, gunfire and explosions..
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:12 pm

mavrach wrote:
Attrage wrote:Total Recall - can't agree with you totally on this one. For me, the film is lacking nothing, and has all the gruesome excess of the perfect pairing - Arnie in his prime, and the fantastically deranged Paul Verhoeven at the helm. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my favourite moment (though the Richter arm-lop is great, admittedly), is the bit where Arnie uses an innocent guy as a human shield and then Verhoeven adds insult to injury by showing the bad guys then stepping on the body. The complete lack of sentiment there is why I love Verhoeven so much (and have been accused by someone I watched it with as being "heartless" LOL)



Total Recall SPOILERS -
The excess is done well but it doesn't match the story IMO. Why does a story that questions reality, and asks who a person is, need that sort of violence to illustrate it? A hero being created by the villain's sidekick going "undercover" by having his mind changed into a different person is so interesting. How does a 3-titted woman help that idea?

Again I have to compare this to Verhoeven's other Robocop. That whole movie is a satire of 80's excess and commercialism, corporations gone wild. The insane violence & gore go well with that statement to further illustrate that excess. It feels like it has a place there, but not so much with Total Recall.


It must be said, I'm in the extreme internet minority here, but i'm actually looking forward to the Colin Farrell led, more cyberpunk-ish remake of Total Recall. The whole "Mars" angle just never sat right with me, and as much as I love Verhoven's stuff (Robocop and Starship Troopers are pitch perfect for him), his lack of subtlety and his taste for over the top violence really doesn't mesh well at all with the more science future, dystopian paranoia of authors like Philip K. Dick. It's like having Michael Bay adapt Neruomancer... ugh.

I also don't share the love of Ahh-nold's oh so clever (read: idiotic, stupid, moronic) one-liners. His best flicks for me were flicks where he played it straight. Terminator, Predator, Conan: The Barbarian (where he really, honest to gosh! tried to act by golly!), and his more "tired of the bullshit" performance inTrue Lies, which was actually kind of brilliant in the way it sort of subverted Arnold's action hero persona while simultaneously allowing to kick more ass than anything else he'd been in up to that point.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:39 am

X-Men: First Class - Not perfect, but one of the better comic book movies out there. It's a definite break from the typical Marvel formula, so that alone is worth your time. Typically you get the first half devoted to an origin story, then they go off to fight some sort of new threat that just coincidentally arises as soon as they're ready. Here, the team is formed as a result of the forthcoming threat, fluidly bringing together multiple threads.

Fassbender & McAvoy give their already-respected characters a youthful energy that we're not used to seeing. I would've liked to see a little more development out of some of the good & evil henchmen, but they played more as extentions of Charles/Erick and of Shaw.

Storywise, if you're at all familiar with the characters there won't be many surprises. The moment you see Shaw don his helmet, you know Magneto is going to beat him. You know Beast's "look normal" syrum won't go well. But the characters get you through all that.

I'm officially a Matthew Vaughn fan at this point. Kick-Ass is one of the very few recent movies to get multiple replays for me, and I loved Stardust. I need to give Layer Cake another day in court.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:08 am

Steve T Power wrote:I also don't share the love of Ahh-nold's oh so clever (read: idiotic, stupid, moronic) one-liners. His best flicks for me were flicks where he played it straight. Terminator, Predator, Conan: The Barbarian (where he really, honest to gosh! tried to act by golly!), and his more "tired of the bullshit" performance inTrue Lies, which was actually kind of brilliant in the way it sort of subverted Arnold's action hero persona while simultaneously allowing to kick more ass than anything else he'd been in up to that point.


Objectively, the only truly well-made Arnold movies are Terminator I & II, and Predator (I need to see Conan again).

The Running Man, Commando, and the action parts of Total Recall aren't so bad they're good. They're so bad they're awesome. Excessive, ridiculous fun. Huge muscles and one-liners. They're not Criterion-caliber, but I'll have a blast watching. But I realize that may be the nostalgia talking.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Andrew Forbes » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:20 am

mavrach wrote:Objectively, the only truly well-made Arnold movies are Terminator I & II, and Predator (I need to see Conan again).

What are the objectively defined qualities of a well-made movie?
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Dunnyman » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:40 am

mavrach wrote:Objectively, the only truly well-made Arnold movies are Terminator I & II, and Predator (I need to see Conan again).

Speaks the man who clearly has never seen Hercules In New York. I can't believe those Oscar clowns gave Best Picture to Midnight Cowboy over this.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:42 am

Andrew Forbes wrote:
mavrach wrote:Objectively, the only truly well-made Arnold movies are Terminator I & II, and Predator (I need to see Conan again).

What are the objectively defined qualities of a well-made movie?


In the case of Terminator, it's a well-written & directed story that accomplishes an epic and suspenseful tale on a small budget. Time travel is used as an interesting plot device in addtion to being a means to transport the hero & villain back to the present. Forgetting the franchise that followed, this is one incredible little movie.

T2 upped the ante of the original by expanding its world while forwarding the characters. A larger budget permitted an advance in special effects (granted CGI did not necessarily better film in general).

Predator - See what I wrote above.

I can't say the same for the other Arnold movies that I enjoy, but I do enjoy them and they have their good qualities.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Andrew Forbes » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:09 pm

mavrach wrote:
Andrew Forbes wrote:
mavrach wrote:Objectively, the only truly well-made Arnold movies are Terminator I & II, and Predator (I need to see Conan again).

What are the objectively defined qualities of a well-made movie?


In the case of Terminator, it's a well-written & directed story that accomplishes an epic and suspenseful tale on a small budget. Time travel is used as an interesting plot device in addtion to being a means to transport the hero & villain back to the present. Forgetting the franchise that followed, this is one incredible little movie.

T2 upped the ante of the original by expanding its world while forwarding the characters. A larger budget permitted an advance in special effects (granted CGI did not necessarily better film in general).

Predator - See what I wrote above.

I can't say the same for the other Arnold movies that I enjoy, but I do enjoy them and they have their good qualities.

You're either missing my point or avoiding it. Those assertions are based either on subjective experiences or on facts that do not denote any inherent artistic or aesthetic value. Those are not objective assessments. They may be widely agreed upon, but I do not know of any criteria by which artistic "well-made-ness" can be objectively quantified. That's why we argue.

I would take True Lies or Conan over Predator any day of the week.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby J.M. Vargas » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:53 pm

Dan Mancini wrote:Bresson wasn't a nihilist, not even in his late period. Elements of redemption and transcendence remain in his later films, but mostly in the negative as he became more explicit in his criticism of French society. The tension we feel in our guts when watching a flick like L'Argent is that Yvon is both a villain and a victim. In a way, his spiral is the result of an absence of grace. Bresson's power is that he was able to explore that kind of stuff without getting reductionist or preachy. That may make it feel like nihilism from time to time, but it never is.

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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby mavrach » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:28 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:You're either missing my point or avoiding it. Those assertions are based either on subjective experiences or on facts that do not denote any inherent artistic or aesthetic value. Those are not objective assessments. They may be widely agreed upon, but I do not know of any criteria by which artistic "well-made-ness" can be objectively quantified. That's why we argue.

I would take True Lies or Conan over Predator any day of the week.


I do see your point but that's a whole philosophical can of worms. What makes John Carpenter better than Uwe Boll for example? Lots of great reasons, but if you like House of the Dead more than you like Halloween and can give good reasoning, more power to you! It was my humble opinion that Predator and the Terminators are better movies, based on experience as well as a general critical consensus.

If my original post came off that all movies can be quantified as good or bad, and agreed upon by the general public as being judged so, that wasn't my intention.

I seriously need to see Conan ASAP. I saw it once when I was like 7 and didn't like it so didn't watch it more throughout my childhood like the rest of Arnold's stuff.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Steve T Power » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:27 pm

Andrew Forbes wrote:
I would take True Lies or Conan over Predator any day of the week.


Word.

What works so well about Conan is that it REEKS of that 1970's arthouse vibe, it is seeped in it. Cool sequence after cool sequence just unfolds gradually rather than in hyperkinetic fashion. Milius' production design was gorgeous, and he shoots the ever-loving hell out of it (even if many of the effects shots don't honestly hold up that well today). I'd argue that Arnold works better here than in any other flick he's done outside of The Terminator, precisely because the Arnold persona didn't exist yet. This was Ahh-nold at his most earnest. Ironically, the best performance you would ever get from the Governator was his first dramatic role. He does dial it back a lot for Predator as well, it's about as "against type" as Arnold got once he hit the big time. Conan, the Terminator, and Dutch were characters, everything else was just Arnold mugging (OK, Red Heat was Arnold mugging it with a cheesy accent).

Also: Conan The Barbarian... best score ever. Just sayin'.
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Re: JoyAtNewUnheraldedAdmired&RequiemYear2012(WATCHING)Thread

Postby Attrage » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:06 pm

molly1216 wrote:Wings (1927) it is worth sitting through all the traditional two guys one girl shtick to get to the battle scenes...oh my freaking god...those stunt guys were insane..and from what i learned watching the documentary before hand..the director and stars were none to careful either. they MADE one of them learn to fly so they should shoot him flying. must see viewing kiddies. no cgi here. just testosterone and tanks
this was definitely the best picture of the year...and forgive me Mr Demille, i think this was the best picture made up until that point.
btw this new release - the track with the new music..also has a full on battle scene sounds effects, engines, gunfire and explosions..


Agreed. I havent had the pleasure of seeing the print you saw (I saw it on an old B&W television late at night years ago) but the stunt flying was just totally insane. I love the amazing manueverability (horrid spelling, I always have trouble with that stupid word!) of those planes from that era. I read a book on stunt flying in early war movies that talked about how the stunt pilots were (unsurprisingly) very competitive and always trying to out-do each other and be more daring than the last guy. Also not surprisingly it's why more than a few of them wound up dead doing it.
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