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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 5061859 )
noodles_leone
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« #12495 : October 01, 2013, 11:47:24 PM »

The Pianist is not a 10. It's academic, it brings very little to the table after 60 years of writing and filming on the topic, it's not very well shot.
I'd still give it a 8 because it's not really falwed or anything and the piano scene and the ending get me every time. So you think this is a real masterpiece?

SAVAGES 7/10
Mr Stanton was right, this is an interesting movie. The script was the best part. Stone trying to be cool and modern is also nice but most of the effects feel more like a music video from the 90's than anything else, but nice try. At least it's not shot like The Pianist :)
I saw it on TV in French, the dubbing was some of the worst I have ever seen so MAY BE the main actors do not play as bad as I thought.
Salma Hayek cannot play a criminal mastermind. Every scene she's in, you wonder why her people don't just rape and murder her: she has no authority.


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« #12496 : October 02, 2013, 04:15:05 AM »

I give The Pianist "only" a 6/10. No Polanski after Chinatown earns more. Except Tess maybe, which is probably a 7.


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« #12497 : October 02, 2013, 06:45:42 AM »

Savages is interesting only in the way that stuff like Prophecy and Convoy are interesting. Eg. seeing a once-great director producing overblown garbage.



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dave jenkins
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« #12498 : October 02, 2013, 08:27:24 AM »

The Pianist is not a 10. It's academic, it brings very little to the table after 60 years of writing and filming on the topic, it's not very well shot.
I'd still give it a 8 because it's not really falwed or anything and the piano scene and the ending get me every time. So you think this is a real masterpiece?
Polanski made the very defensible choice of filming The Pianist chastely. He did not want embellishments--he wanted a spare style that would let this true story come through without editorializing. There was no reason for elaborate camera movements. All he wanted was good performances, good costumes, properly prepared sets and locations that could be lit and shot simply. That's what he got. His sound design is particularly noteworthy. There is very little music beyond the diegetic performances provided by his characters. This works wonderfully: the film opens with Szpilman being interrupted in performance. For most of the film he is unable to play as he wishes. When he does finally get the chance--when the German officer asks it of him, and later at the end when we see him with a full orchestra, those pay-offs are incredible. We wouldn't really get the effect if we had been hearing a typical wall-to-wall score throughout the film. This restrained approach is characteristic of the film as a whole. It is entirely appropriate to the subject matter and achieves the director's intentions. Given his stated goals, I don't know how Polanski could have done better.

I only give 10s to three of the Polanskis: Chinatown, Tess, and this. His other work, even when good, seems slight by comparison.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (2010) Blu-ray - 7/10. Amusing action-adventure, heavy on the CGI. The recreated Paris of 1911 looks wonderful, the creatures in motion not so much. But given the film's overall light comic tone, that's not really a problem. I guess the best gag was that when the ancient mummies were finally resurrected, they all turned out to talk like cultivated Frenchmen. Oops, SPOILER!



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« #12499 : October 02, 2013, 08:56:48 AM »

Savages is interesting only in the way that stuff like Prophecy and Convoy are interesting. Eg. seeing a once-great director producing overblown garbage.

I won't argue, because I totally understand why most people think that way when watching Savages. I thought the same while watching Alexander. Still, I learned many (filmmaking related) things with Savages.

This restrained approach is characteristic of the film as a whole.


I'm never a fan of the restrained approach, although it's not debatable: you say it works perfectly with the topic, i yell "LAAAAZYYYY", and the truth is somewhere in the middle. But I know I don't like it.
The use of music, however, is wonderful. It would have been a 6/10 without it.
Still, I'm pretty sure in 30 years it won't be shown anywhere else than in schools, because it's overly politicaly correct and just say the same basic stuff that have been said as soon as the war ended. The book told them better IMO, especially in the aftermath of the insurection. There were some great survival scenes there that were not filmed. The Pianist should have been more like what they did during the insurrection: raw, real, with little details such as the way some guys fall during the fights. Most of the scenes lack this quality and leans a bit toward the docudrama.

« : October 02, 2013, 08:59:22 AM noodles_leone »

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« #12500 : October 02, 2013, 09:42:18 AM »

I'm never a fan of the restrained approach, although it's not debatable: you say it works perfectly with the topic, i yell "LAAAAZYYYY", and the truth is somewhere in the middle. But I know I don't like it.
The use of music, however, is wonderful. It would have been a 6/10 without it.
Still, I'm pretty sure in 30 years it won't be shown anywhere else than in schools, because it's overly politicaly correct and just say the same basic stuff that have been said as soon as the war ended. The book told them better IMO, especially in the aftermath of the insurection. There were some great survival scenes there that were not filmed. The Pianist should have been more like what they did during the insurrection: raw, real, with little details such as the way some guys fall during the fights. Most of the scenes lack this quality and leans a bit toward the docudrama.
Politics is the background, not the subject. It's Szpilman's story. He wasn't a fighter, didn't have a cause, survived through a series of accidents. His story is not inspiring (compared to others). He did more observing than doing (hence, as you put, the sense of leaning toward docudrama). But Szpilman's story is unique. As such, it may mean something to some, nothing to others. It obviously meant something to Polanski (he identifies with Szpilman to a certain extent). I don't think it will be shown in schools: Szpilman is not an everyman who can be related to by all.  As such, I'm glad Polanski doesn't spend the film pushing Szpilman on us. He allows us to take him in and make up our minds about him. Obviously, not everyone is going to find him memorable. But it would have been a mistake to try to make him something he wasn't. It's instructive to compare this film with Schindler's List, a p-o-s which does nothing but lie in every frame.



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« #12501 : October 02, 2013, 10:11:30 AM »

I read and liked the book (that is not a 10/10 either)  before the movie was made. It brought what you're saying to the table. The movie also did, but less.

It's instructive to compare this film with Schindler's List, a p-o-s which does nothing but lie in every frame.

... and still easily deserves 12/10.
"p-o-s" or not, it did more in its opening weekend to push humanity forward (by touching millions of people with an hollywoodian but sincere story of redemption of a selfish human being like you and me that is still inspiring wanabe Mother Theresa all around the world. Wether you hate or love the movie it IS saving lives right now) and cinema (by being one of the highest technical landmark we ever saw on a big screen) than the Pianist will in 100 years.

Lies are not always bad in moviemaking; as a general rule, we could even say that most movies should lie (and we could also note that a work of art that is not lying could be a masterpiece, may be, but it does not exist. Language is a lie by itself). Now, it's good that The Pianist goes the other way but when rating a movie, the ambition AND the execution have to be taken into account. There is a tight rope between cinema vérité and docudrama... and boring filmmaking isn't the easiest way to fall on the right side. "Shooting simply" is not a flaw, shooting boringly is. No Country For Old Men is shot simply AND wonderfully. The Pianist (appart from every single scene involving a piano and many fight scenes) is shot "easy'.

Last but not least, the "non lying" Pianist shows you that "music can make even Nazis good people" because the officer does not kill him. Which is a lie: this officer helped and saved many jews during the whole war. Music had nothing to do with it, he was a real life hero and not the regular nazi touched by music the movie shows. If you're going to tell a single lie in a 2.5 hours movie, it's always better not to tarnish the reputation of a hero who died in the soviets camps.

« : October 02, 2013, 10:22:26 AM noodles_leone »

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« #12502 : October 02, 2013, 10:21:06 AM »

I haven't read Szpilman's book, but from what you (and others) have said, Polanski did justice to his subject. I HAVE read the book Schindler's List is based on, and so I know Spielberg's film is phoney from first to last. I agree that lying in the service of art can sometimes be permissible, but only when the lying makes the art better, AND/OR the lying doesn't traduce the historical record. The utter abomination that is Schindler's List fails on both counts.

N.B. One of the few Spielberg films I can stand is Empire of the Sun, which seems to do justice to J. G. Ballard's experiences.

« : October 02, 2013, 10:24:10 AM dave jenkins »


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« #12503 : October 02, 2013, 10:24:17 AM »

Just updated my previous post about Schindler, which may answer your latest post, and added the last 2 lines in the end about The Pianist's biggest lie.

Once again, I'm still liking The Pianist a lot, just to be clear :)


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« #12504 : October 02, 2013, 11:49:55 AM »

Last but not least, the "non lying" Pianist shows you that "music can make even Nazis good people" because the officer does not kill him. Which is a lie: this officer helped and saved many jews during the whole war. Music had nothing to do with it, he was a real life hero and not the regular nazi touched by music the movie shows. If you're going to tell a single lie in a 2.5 hours movie, it's always better not to tarnish the reputation of a hero who died in the soviets camps.
I agree that the German officer was a hero and that he was heroic for reasons that had nothing to do with music. But the movie doesn't necessarily suggest that Szpilman's playing the piano is what swayed the officer in his favor. That's an interpretation, and one I've never made. I've always assumed that the guy was decent to begin with; he shows his decency first by having Szpilman play the piano in the house where he's been found (this may be a lie, because the coincidence of having the piano present is too great; or at least, it's unlikely that having Szpilman play the piano is the first thing the officer would have him do; this is dramatic license to make a point about the primacy of the piano in Szpilman's life). A pianist needs to play, just as a human needs to eat. Of course, the officer enjoys the music, and perhaps is even moved by it. But he was going to help Szpilman anyway. I suppose some may look at that scene and interpret it the way you have done, but I don't think the scene requires that interpretation. The piano-playing reveals character (those of Szpilman and the officer); it does not drive the plot.

In Empire of the Sun, both in the novel and the film, things that happened to the boy are different from what Ballard himself actually experienced (for example, he was not alone in the internment camp, his parents and sister were with him). But the experience of life in the camp still seems authentic to me (titoli: note once again the distinction I am drawing between "authentic" and "accurate.") Perhaps the reunion with the parents at the end is thus rendered phoney--I won't argue the point, it's the least interesting part of the movie anyway. But overall, after watching the film, I still feel I've had a reliable account of what it was like for a young person of "Jim's" age and status to have experienced the Japanese Occupation in China during WW2.



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« #12505 : October 02, 2013, 12:15:56 PM »

...it did more in its opening weekend to push humanity forward (by touching millions of people with an hollywoodian but sincere story of redemption of a selfish human being like you and me that is still inspiring wanabe Mother Theresa all around the world. Wether you hate or love the movie it IS saving lives right now) and cinema (by being one of the highest technical landmark we ever saw on a big screen) than the Pianist will in 100 years.
Your argument seems to be that Schindler's List is a more effective piece of propaganda than The Pianist. I'm happy to concede this, since that is not my concern here. Note that I do not denigrate SL because it is propaganda (there is good propaganda and bad); I denigrate it because it is bad art. A work can be both art and propaganda (see Virgil): the art can be good and the propaganda bad (see Riefenstahl); the art can be bad and the propaganda good (most Spielberg); you can also have art where the propaganda is negligible (as in The Pianist). But when I comment on films, I almost always ignore the propaganda side. The art is what matters to me.



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« #12506 : October 02, 2013, 12:47:09 PM »

Mud (2012) - 7.5/10
The screenplay is so "by the book" that it's annoying - though it's not exactly a bad script. Good performances, raw yet beautiful cinematography. Unimaginative score. The most thrilling gun fight scene I've seen for a long time.


And let me add my two cents here: Polanski's good even when he's bad (The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Ninth Gate).


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« #12507 : October 02, 2013, 01:10:15 PM »

Mud (2012) - 7.5/10
The screenplay is so "by the book" that it's annoying
How refreshing in an age of arthouse poseurs.



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« #12508 : October 02, 2013, 10:25:41 PM »

How refreshing in an age of arthouse poseurs.
I'm not after another Melancholia or Holy Motors here. But where are The Conversations or Taxi Drivers of today? You can tell an interesting and comprehensible story without being formulaic.


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« #12509 : October 03, 2013, 01:16:42 AM »




And let me add my two cents here: Polanski's good even when he's bad (The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Ninth Gate).

The Ninth Gate is disappointing (and boring), but Dance of the Vampires is a great film. One of Polanski's best.


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