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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1833786 times)
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« Reply #5910 on: April 28, 2009, 01:21:52 PM »

Basquiat (1996) - 7/10

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« Reply #5911 on: April 28, 2009, 01:24:00 PM »

I finally saw slumdog and it was mediocre, at best. visually, it apes too much from city of god. it is a rarity that the viewer can actually observe what's occurring in the frame, Boyle takes the audience by the hand and leads the through the picture like a tour guide. these characters are 1D and stale - do we ever learn or know anything about them beside what others perceive them to be? The story itself just wasn't captivating, I did like some moments in the first hour (like the train montage) but overall, it's just sort of...silly and predictable. moments like the child jumping into a pile of crap, the escape from the kiddie camp and the brother switching sides to help out the main character left me confused.

I don't like attaching numbers to movies but this is a 6, I guess.

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« Reply #5912 on: April 28, 2009, 01:53:32 PM »

Basquiat (1996) - 7/10
WHAT?Huh The great Jeffrey Wright gets no more than a 7?

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« Reply #5913 on: April 29, 2009, 11:14:44 AM »

From Here to Eternity - 7/10 - I so want to give this a higher rating, but I'm afraid a 7 is the maximum. The screenplay was excellent, Zinnemann's direction was top-notch, and the cast is pretty much perfect, but the plot wallows too much in predictable soap operatics and the ending is rather unsatisfying. Perhaps I'm the only one but I think Zinnemann's later movies are a vast improvement over this and High Noon.

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« Reply #5914 on: April 29, 2009, 12:33:41 PM »

From Here to Eternity - 7/10 - I so want to give this a higher rating, but I'm afraid a 7 is the maximum. The screenplay was excellent, Zinnemann's direction was top-notch, and the cast is pretty much perfect, but the plot wallows too much in predictable soap operatics and the ending is rather unsatisfying. Perhaps I'm the only one but I think Zinnemann's later movies are a vast improvement over this and High Noon.
Zinnemann was a technician rather than an auteur. That means when he is adapting "A" material he gets "A" results. The results are less satisfactory when the source material isn't quite up to par. From Here to Eternity is an OK novel, but it's no The Thin Red Line and High Noon is built on a script that is dramatically compelling but intellectually defective. However, when Zinnemann adapts A Man For All Seasons (one of the best English language plays of the 20th Century) or Day of the Jackal (the very acme of suspense novels), he delivers in spades. Masterpiece in equals masterpiece out. Still, a talent worth commending.

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« Reply #5915 on: April 29, 2009, 12:56:00 PM »

Paris nous appartient (1960) - 7/10
Dramatically it doesn't come together but has a strange mood; interesting trip with unsatisfactory conclusion. And, either it's full of semi-intellectual muble jumble or it's just too sophisticated for me...

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« Reply #5916 on: April 29, 2009, 01:09:40 PM »

Zinnemann was a technician rather than an auteur. That means when he is adapting "A" material he gets "A" results. The results are less satisfactory when the source material isn't quite up to par. From Here to Eternity is an OK novel, but it's no The Thin Red Line and High Noon is built on a script that is dramatically compelling but intellectually defective. However, when Zinnemann adapts A Man For All Seasons (one of the best English language plays of the 20th Century) or Day of the Jackal (the very acme of suspense novels), he delivers in spades. Masterpiece in equals masterpiece out. Still, a talent worth commending.

Well, you haven't seen The Nun's Story, yes? That's his best film although I haven't read the novel, and for all I know that could be a msterpiece.

I wouldn't be so crude as to dismiss Zinnemann as a "technician". He was a studio director who got to be more independent later in his career. The fact that he's versatile doesn't mean he's not worthy of appraisal. If Howard Hawks is an auteur, then so is Zinnemann.

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« Reply #5917 on: April 29, 2009, 02:30:58 PM »

Name one Zinnemann film of worth that is not an adaptation of a story in another medium.

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« Reply #5918 on: April 29, 2009, 03:05:17 PM »


I wouldn't be so crude as to dismiss Zinnemann as a "technician".
The value judgement is yours, not mine. Not every director can be an auteur, and I do not denigrate the talents--the very necessary talents--of skillful technicians. To consider another example: William Wyler was a great artist, a talented adapter of other people's work. But he was not an auteur. When he adapted Bronte, he performed a reasonably faithful (if truncated) translation. The same with his adaptations for Maugham and James. There is not therefore a unified authorial voice behind the films Wuthering Heights, The Letter, and The Heiress. But what those three films DO have in common is exceptional craftsmanship. The name "Wyler" on a picture is a seal of quality, no small thing. But Wyler is not an "author" the way Bergman or Herzog or even Leone or Hitchcock are. He is a translator of authors.

One could argue that Wyler is better at this than Zinnemann--Ben Hur is a better film than it is a novel. Wyler could improve upon his sources, while Zinnemann, apparently, could not. But making a good adaptation is nothing to sneeze at: just consider the adaptations of Ron Howard or Joel Schumaker or any of the other lepers in the Colony. No, I will not entertain any special pleading on Fred Zinnemann's behalf as an auteur. My admiration for his talents as a craftsman will not allow it.

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« Reply #5919 on: April 29, 2009, 03:12:57 PM »

Paris nous appartient (1960) - 7/10
Dramatically it doesn't come together but has a strange mood; interesting trip with unsatisfactory conclusion. And, either it's full of semi-intellectual muble jumble or it's just too sophisticated for me...
I tried watching this but could only get about 30 minutes in before bailing.

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« Reply #5920 on: April 29, 2009, 04:07:09 PM »

Perhaps you have a fair point, Jenkins, I'd prefer the term craftsman to technician though. Technician implies that he just knows how to run a camera; it downplays his ability to set a scene, and key with Zinnemann, draw performances from his actors. Not everyone can make a good adaptation of existing material (indeed, the remake of The Day of the Jackal shows this).

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« Reply #5921 on: April 29, 2009, 04:36:09 PM »

Zinnemann was a technician rather than an auteur. That means when he is adapting "A" material he gets "A" results. The results are less satisfactory when the source material isn't quite up to par. From Here to Eternity is an OK novel, but it's no The Thin Red Line and High Noon is built on a script that is dramatically compelling but intellectually defective. However, when Zinnemann adapts A Man For All Seasons (one of the best English language plays of the 20th Century) or Day of the Jackal (the very acme of suspense novels), he delivers in spades. Masterpiece in equals masterpiece out. Still, a talent worth commending.

if not for that whole auteur spiel, I'd completely agree with you. when has the theory ever been discussed in a semantics-free manner? I accept the gist of the theory, or in its utmost general terms, but overall, the AT is too muddled for me - too many complications, oversights, what have you. I don't really like it, to be honest. what do you consider Leone and his all star team, DJ?

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« Reply #5922 on: April 29, 2009, 04:43:11 PM »

The auteur theory is more or less bunk in my opinion. Especially after studying it in a degree of depth in my Film Class; it seems like critics cherry-pick their favorite films, and build a cult following around their director. Jacques Rivette's article on Howard Hawks in particular is ridiculous nonsense that would be dismissed as "fanboyism" if written by someone on IMDB today.

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« Reply #5923 on: April 29, 2009, 07:43:15 PM »

I don't know the Rivette article you mention, Groggy, but I suspect you and I are close to agreeing (if you prefer "craftsman" to "technician," fine, I'm using the terms interchangeably--Italian Word Police take note). The problem with the AT is that it tries to account for every film going, when in fact not all directors are alike. Tuco H, elsewhere I have distinguished between "hard auteurs" "soft auteurs" and "non-auteurs", which, while still reductive, at least attempts to draw greater distinctions than the AT normally allows. Hard auteurs are people like Bergman and Herzog, directors who conceive, write, execute their creative visions, and are therefore truly the authors of their films. Generally, this is possible because such people work with small crews and relatively small budgets, and are thereby able to maintain complete control over every facet of the production of their films. Then there are soft auteurs, directors who must cede some creative control to others and thus operate more like team managers than authors, but who nonetheless are able to imprint a distinct and consistent vision on all they produce. In this category I place people like Leone and Hitchcock. Finally, the non-auteurs are those who, though talented (or not), hew to industry norms and/or specialize in the adaptations of other people's visions. Such directors do not have a distinctive vision (I don't say "style") of their own. Here is where I place great craftsman like Wyler and Zinnemann. Possibly, even Kubrick would go here, but perhaps he is a special case (although he tends to be an adapter of other's work, he often ends up transforming or commenting on his sources, sometimes even subverting the original material). Doubtless, even greater distinctions can be made, but this will do for a start. I just can't pretend that the AT successfully covers every feature film ever made.

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« Reply #5924 on: April 29, 2009, 08:58:59 PM »

I don't know the Rivette article you mention, Groggy, but I suspect you and I are close to agreeing (if you prefer "craftsman" to "technician," fine, I'm using the terms interchangeably--Italian Word Police take note). The problem with the AT is that it tries to account for every film going, when in fact not all directors are alike. Tuco H, elsewhere I have distinguished between "hard auteurs" "soft auteurs" and "non-auteurs", which, while still reductive, at least attempts to draw greater distinctions than the AT normally allows. Hard auteurs are people like Bergman and Herzog, directors who conceive, write, execute their creative visions, and are therefore truly the authors of their films. Generally, this is possible because such people work with small crews and relatively small budgets, and are thereby able to maintain complete control over every facet of the production of their films. Then there are soft auteurs, directors who must cede some creative control to others and thus operate more like team managers than authors, but who nonetheless are able to imprint a distinct and consistent vision on all they produce. In this category I place people like Leone and Hitchcock. Finally, the non-auteurs are those who, though talented (or not), hew to industry norms and/or specialize in the adaptations of other people's visions. Such directors do not have a distinctive vision (I don't say "style") of their own. Here is where I place great craftsman like Wyler and Zinnemann. Possibly, even Kubrick would go here, but perhaps he is a special case (although he tends to be an adapter of other's work, he often ends up transforming or commenting on his sources, sometimes even subverting the original material). Doubtless, even greater distinctions can be made, but this will do for a start. I just can't pretend that the AT successfully covers every feature film ever made.

While I agree to an extent, there are too many formalities and exceptions, especially considering the natural collaborative aspects of the filmmaking process. You would almost have to be present on the set to oversee the shooting process to formulate an opinion on each filmmaker. Then, of course, that could change from film to film. I would also take the editing process into account: how much say does the editor have?

Sorry to be a pain in your ass but what categories would you place the following filmmakers:
Anthony Mann (his work with Alton primarily) -soft or non?
Robert Wise -soft or non?
Teshigahara -collaborated with Japanese author - the name escapes me.
John Ford -soft? but so influential
Jim Jarmusch (uses small crews but has stated on many occasions that his crew is vital - thinks of filmmaking as a group process. could be false modesty but I'm curious)
Bunuel - had co-writers for later work, adapted, not sure about earlier work

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