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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1770882 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #9525 on: September 26, 2011, 07:48:24 AM »

The Servant - 8/10 - 2nd viewing. Basically the same feeling as last time: great performances, interesting direction and a really unsettling atmosphere, but what the hell is with the last half-hour? I feel an eight is generous.

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« Reply #9526 on: September 26, 2011, 09:18:01 AM »

Well, that is one of the conventions of Noir, a lot of stories are told in flash back so keep that in mind.  Afro

stories can be told in flashbacks without the ending being given away in the first scene

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« Reply #9527 on: September 26, 2011, 06:12:37 PM »

Not if the main character is dead.

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« Reply #9528 on: September 26, 2011, 06:27:12 PM »

Not if the main character is dead.

sure it can.... for example, in Sunset Boulevard, they can open with the cops and reporters gathered around the pool, but without showing that the guy is dead.... There are other movies that did the same thing, such as Blow and Carlito's Way, where they gave away the ending (in Blow, that he is in prison; and in Carlito's Way, that he is dead), in the opening scene. They can instead show a partial shot -- such as in Carlito's Way, they could have just shown the train station, rather than showing the bullet entering his body-- that lets you know it is a flashback, but without letting you know he is dead).

I know there is much more to a movie than what happens to the main character at the end. But for me, knowing what happens to him always somewhat  detracts from the movie

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« Reply #9529 on: September 27, 2011, 07:10:49 AM »

But, D&D, in SB the main character is not only dead, he's ALSO narrating the story. That breaks the rules (it's even worse than a lying flashback), and if you get to the end of the story and only find out then that the guy telling the story is a ghost (or whatever) all viewers are entitled to yell "Cheat!" and demand their money back. But there's kind of an unwritten loophole: if you let your viewers in on what you're doing early enough, they won't feel they've been had later on. In Rashomon, for example, we soon cotton to the fact that what we are getting is not objective truth but subjective accounts of what has happened and, voilà, suddenly everybody is lovin' the lying flashbacks. In SB, the fact that the guy we see dead in the pool is the guy telling the story gives everybody a giggle, and, coupled with the line "Well, he got his pool" establishes the film's sardonic tone. There may even be a frisson for for first-time viewers as they realize the extent of Wilder's audacity. Dude, this is first-tier cinema. You have to be willing to forego some pleasures in order to experience others, especially if those other pleasures are new.

« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 07:13:27 AM by dave jenkins » Logged


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« Reply #9530 on: September 27, 2011, 02:31:54 PM »

But, D&D, in SB the main character is not only dead, he's ALSO narrating the story. That breaks the rules (it's even worse than a lying flashback), and if you get to the end of the story and only find out then that the guy telling the story is a ghost (or whatever) all viewers are entitled to yell "Cheat!" and demand their money back. But there's kind of an unwritten loophole: if you let your viewers in on what you're doing early enough, they won't feel they've been had later on. In Rashomon, for example, we soon cotton to the fact that what we are getting is not objective truth but subjective accounts of what has happened and, voilà, suddenly everybody is lovin' the lying flashbacks. In SB, the fact that the guy we see dead in the pool is the guy telling the story gives everybody a giggle, and, coupled with the line "Well, he got his pool" establishes the film's sardonic tone. There may even be a frisson for for first-time viewers as they realize the extent of Wilder's audacity. Dude, this is first-tier cinema. You have to be willing to forego some pleasures in order to experience others, especially if those other pleasures are new.
Do you, or anybody else, happen to remember what's the case in American Beauty? Do we know right from the begining that the narrator is dead?

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« Reply #9531 on: September 28, 2011, 03:44:00 AM »

Two Weeks In Another Town (1962) 8.5/10

Jack Andrus (played by Kirk Douglas) is a former movie star, who is now a recovering alcoholic and a recovering nutcase.
Andrus had collaborated frequently with director Maurice Kruger (played by Edward G. Robinson) -- whose career has also been floundering recently-- back in their glory days. Kruger is now trying to revive his career with a movie being filmed at Cinecitta Studios in Rome, and when he offers Andrus a role in the picture, the latter sees a chance to revive his career as well. Though Andrus and Kruger had great professional successes in the past, they had also sparred frequently, so naturally, things get interesting the moment Andrus arrives at Cinecitta.

This is a great bit of entertainment, and what makes this film so enjoyable is that it understands it is simply entertainment, and does not try to be anything more (ie. no stomach-turning speechifying about life lessons learned, etc.) I really like films that understand what they are and stick to it, and this film succeeds.

Douglas and Robinson are great as always

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« Reply #9532 on: September 28, 2011, 06:10:58 AM »

Do you, or anybody else, happen to remember what's the case in American Beauty? Do we know right from the begining that the narrator is dead?
Can't answer you. I do, however, remember that The Usual Suspects is mostly one long lying flashback, and when I got to the end and discovered that I was incensed.

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« Reply #9533 on: September 28, 2011, 08:56:43 AM »

Killer Elite (2010) 5/10. Not a re-make of the Peckinpah film of similar title, this is more of an updating of The Bravados with a hitman (Jason Statham) and his team doing revenge killings on behalf of an oil sheik. The sheik is from Oman, and during a period of turmoil in that country three of his sons were killed. The rub is that they were killed by SAS members who have since returned to the UK, beyond the reach of tribal justice. Statham is reluctant to proceed with the contract, so the sheik holds buddy Robert DeNiro hostage until the deal is finished. Matters are further complicated, however, when it's revealed that there is a secret group of SAS alumni who, apparently, do nothing but make sure their members are never threatened by such reprisals. They are led by a one-eyed Clive Owen, and when he gets wind of Statham's project, his team starts hunting the hunters. The premise is pretty good--unhappily, the execution really sucks. We get the usual incoherent fights and incoherent car chases because no one cares about proper editing anymore. And then the plot goes a twist too far: it turns out that really really secret guys in the UK government are on board with the sheik's agenda because they don't like the idea of other not-as-secret organisations like Owen's operating in the UK. Or something. Things spiral down from that point and the film never recovers. There's also a worthless love interest for Statham to be worried about, and the final crane shot is so cliched as to be risible. (NB: advertising tells us this is "based on a true story." What that translates to is the fact that once upon a time the SAS actually operated in Oman and since have never explained what they did there).

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« Reply #9534 on: September 28, 2011, 08:47:31 PM »

Samurai Assassin (1965)


7/10

If Mifune found out what he actually did at the end, and slew the treacherous chief conspirator who tricked him into it, it would've been at least a 9...

It has snow, too many flashbacks (and flashbacks IN flashbacks), some wild and desperate swordfights, traitors everywhere, Mifune being his usual drunken, jerkass ronin who of course has a tragic past... has soem really good moments but misses the chance for true greatness.

Why do so many samurai movies just end, without a real ending?

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« Reply #9535 on: September 29, 2011, 09:12:48 PM »

Why do so many samurai movies just end, without a real ending?
Perhaps because . . . endings are an illusion? Chambara are often based on historical events (the central one in Samurai Assassin being the Sakurada Gate Incident of 1860) and history doesn't follow the conventions of Western narrative. There's always more to come (and more films to show what the "more to come" is). You should give Shinoda's Ansatsu a shot: not only doesn't it have an end, it doesn't even have a beginning.

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« Reply #9536 on: September 30, 2011, 08:24:44 PM »

(NB: advertising tells us this is "based on a true story." What that translates to is the fact that once upon a time the SAS actually operated in Oman and since have never explained what they did there).

Depends if you believe the book's author or not.

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« Reply #9537 on: September 30, 2011, 08:30:58 PM »

Moneyball - 7/10 - Underwhelming but enjoyable enough. Despite its ambitions to the contrary, the plot ends up as a standard underdog story, albeit more cerebral and wonky than most. Sorkin's trademark snappiness seems watered down via collaboration, and there a lot of facile elements to the film (Billy Bean's family life, the flashbacks) that don't quite work. What sold it for me was Brad Pitt: he's wonderfully restrained and intense for most of the film, giving possibly his best performance. Jonah Hill is okay, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright are wasted. I'm going to guess the more you know about baseball the better, even if you disagree with the book and movie's conclusions.

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« Reply #9538 on: October 01, 2011, 07:16:39 AM »

Moneyball - 7/10 - I'm going to guess the more you know about baseball the better, even if you disagree with the book and movie's conclusions.
Not necessarily. From a post over at the criterionforum board:
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The problem with the film lies in its inauthenticity, something that Steven Soderbergh obviously saw a problem with and sought to solve by blending in documentary elements to the story. I never thought I’d say this about anything, but I think having Aaron Sorkin go over the script might have done Moneyball as much harm as having him write The Social Network did that project good. There were elements of the latter that were changed to create more drama and profundity in the character arcs, and the reason why that worked is because no one going into the film was paying attention when these events took place, and very few people at most were well versed in the real story behind the film. In Moneyball, significant details about the business of baseball and the ins and outs of the true events that inspired the film are changed in an attempt to create the same effect, but instead – if the viewer is more than a casual or passing baseball fan – it’s almost like science fiction. People were watching baseball a decade ago, and they were watching it close enough to know that what this film has become is completely bunk.

The story behind the Oakland As team represented on screen is interesting enough on its own not to warrant these puzzling changes – but Sorkin and Miller seem too afraid to make a film that doesn’t have a sweeping dramatic arc. In real life, the team was, despite the loss of Damon, Giambi, and Isringhausen; practically stacked with great players, none of which are even addressed in this film. Miguel Tejada was still at shortstop, they had a killer 1-3 in their pitching rotation (one of the best ever: Hudson, Mulder, and Zito) and were still expected to do quite well. Instead of making the film about expectations being too high and the As rising to meet those expectations, the storyline has been changed to make it seem as if the team was an awful bunch of rag-tag players who were doomed to be the worst team in baseball. Far from it. By focusing on their three key off-season acquisitions, the film wishes to trick casual baseball fans into thinking that three players make a successful team – they just don’t. That’s not the only baseball detail the film gets wrong – representing Hill’s character as an acquisition to the team that winter is a falsehood – he was with the team for four years before the film portrays. The philosophies shown on screen had already been in place for a while, and had gotten the team to the level of success they’d already attained. Another quick gripe: Trades and free agent acquisitions are never accurately represented. On one hand, they’re shown as in-person schmoozefests (Hatteberg would have needed a physical before having a contract left with him to mull over, and of course he had an agent; and GMs don’t fly to other teams’ headquarters to hash out trades for middling relief pitchers) and on the other hand, they’re shown as goofy little phone calls that are wrapped up within a matter of seconds (in real life, the Pena trade was a 3-team, 7-player deal). There is a stink of desperation all over the film’s attempts to simultaneously dramatize and humanize the processes of baseball back offices. And don’t get me started on the ending – it was foolish for Beane to pass up the Red Sox’s offer – he knows it, they know it, everyone knows it. Trying to make it about his family life is just about as fraught as anything in the film.

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« Reply #9539 on: October 01, 2011, 09:50:20 AM »

Fair enough, I'll concede that judgment to people who watch baseball more than my occasional Pirates game. Personally I found it hard to get into the story at times with its barrages of stats and theory.

I don't know how much you can blame Sorkin for the finished product; Steve Zaillan apparently did the final draft and he's listed first on the credits. The only elements I found identifiably Sorkin (besides thematic concerns perhaps) were some dialogue passages and the family subplot. Again I'll concede to more knowledgable viewers, but I do know this was a troubled production that went through many hands.

I would agree with the central premise of that comment, eg. that it's hard to take the underdog talk seriously when they'd been coming off a 100-win season. And all Bean's methods achieve in Oakland is that they make the team marginally better than it already was.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 10:46:15 AM by Groggy » Logged


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