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cigar joe
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« Reply #14145 on: October 22, 2014, 07:15:30 AM »

The Girl Hunters (1963) - 2/10. The stunt casting (Mickey Spillane IS Mike Hammer) can't save this bad-TV-episode-like film. The scope aspect ratio can't save this bad-TV-episode-like film. Shirley Eaton in a bikini can't save this bad-TV-episode-like film (but I appreciate the try).

Filmed in the UK doesn't help either,  Shocked

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« Reply #14146 on: October 22, 2014, 07:17:38 AM »


I think he's a far better director than Eastwood, whose films I often like, but not so much for their style.

This is IMO one problem with how far people take the auteur theory, or their opinion of what art should be, or whatever.
A guy (Eastwood) who makes really good films but doesn't have a distinct style is not gonna be praised as much.
To me, a guy who makes that many good movies is doing something right. Maybe he "merely" chooses good scripts. Maybe he "merely" chooses good actors. Maybe he "merely" has good scores. Whatever he is doing right, all I know is that I've enjoyed watching almost every drama he ever made. To me, that's a great filmmaker, even if he doesn't make the sort of films that you could watch for one minute and instantly recognize, "That's an Eastwood film."

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« Reply #14147 on: October 22, 2014, 07:22:41 AM »

I don't think Affleck is a great actor, but he is a good one. Maybe his good looks have helped him get acting jobs he wouldn't have otherwise, but then again, you can say that about many people in Hollywood.
I think he is usually good, and I think he is very good in Argo.

I wouldn't see a movie just cuz he's in it, but when I do watch movies that he is in, I am usually fine with the performance.

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« Reply #14148 on: October 22, 2014, 07:34:29 AM »

I gave Argo an 8/10. What the fuck are you talking about?
Groggy's Disease has nothing to do with liking Affleck projects. I just looked it up in the Jenkins' Dictionary of Cinematic Terms and there it says, "the condition whereby one is incapable or unwilling to appreciate the score and/or soundtrack of a particular movie when evaluating same." I recently accused n_l of having contracted this when he reported on The Rover and failed to mention the music. Bad as Groggy's Disease is, when combined with Hyper titoli-itis (acute loss of a sense of humor) the victim is rendered completely incapable of discerning the worth/lack of worth of any film he watches. Sorry for convoluting my meaning. I could have simplified things by just reminding everybody that n_l is French.

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« Reply #14149 on: October 22, 2014, 07:35:19 AM »

This is IMO one problem with how far people take the auteur theory, or their opinion of what art should be, or whatever.
A guy (Eastwood) who makes really good films but doesn't have a distinct style is not gonna be praised as much.
To me, a guy who makes that many good movies is doing something right. Maybe he "merely" chooses good scripts. Maybe he "merely" chooses good actors. Maybe he "merely" has good scores. Whatever he is doing right, all I know is that I've enjoyed watching almost every drama he ever made. To me, that's a great filmmaker, even if he doesn't make the sort of films that you could watch for one minute and instantly recognize, "That's an Eastwood film."

Well, if the first scene of a movie is at night while you ear jazz or piano bar music while the camera wanders on a crime scene, you'll know within 8 seconds that you're watching an Eastwood film.

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« Reply #14150 on: October 22, 2014, 07:45:01 AM »

Groggy's Disease has nothing to do with liking Affleck projects. I just looked it up in the Jenkins' Dictionary of Cinematic Terms and there it says, "the condition whereby one is incapable or unwilling to appreciate the score and/or soundtrack of a particular movie when evaluating same." I recently accused n_l of having contracted this when he reported on The Rover and failed to mention the music. Bad as Groggy's Disease is, when combined with Hyper titoli-itis (acute loss of a sense of humor) the victim is rendered completely incapable of discerning the worth/lack of worth of any film he watches. Sorry for convoluting my meaning. I could have simplified things by just reminding everybody that n_l is French.

1 - Argo isn't funny when you're not 12 years old:
- When it comes to humor, a little subtlety helps.
- A cliché isn't funny if you're not using the fact that it's a cliché.
- I never laugh to a movie joke I could have improvised while having fun with friends.
And this come from a huge South Park fan.

2 - The music in The Rover isn't very good. It's not bad either but it degrades a little the film by pushing it too far in a direction it cannot sustain. In the same style, I prefer the music of There Will Be Blood... I know you hate TWBB but at least its ambitions and the music work in the same direction.

3 - I have to defend Titoli here. He doesn't lack a sense of humor: he has his own one. It may be a wrong one (I still haven't decided yet) but that's at least something. Also, a man who creates his own RTLMYS thread cannot be that bad.

4 - I plead guilty for the French part. Hopefully I'm also partly Armenian, so that's a draw.

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« Reply #14151 on: October 22, 2014, 07:59:11 AM »

4 - I plead guilty for the French part. Hopefully I'm also partly Armenian, so that's a draw.
The Armenian in you is a mitigating factor, which is probably why you've been allowed to stay on the board.

Am I imagining things, or do you suddenly have a lot more time to read and respond to silly posts? I hope you didn't just get fired. Maybe you're "between projects" (as they say)?

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« Reply #14152 on: October 22, 2014, 08:00:55 AM »

Filmed in the UK doesn't help either,  Shocked
Yeah, although some second unit work is on authentic locations. There's some good stuff there.

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« Reply #14153 on: October 22, 2014, 08:03:08 AM »

1 - Argo isn't funny when you're not 12 years old:
- When it comes to humor, a little subtlety helps.
- A cliché isn't funny if you're not using the fact that it's a cliché.
- I never laugh to a movie joke I could have improvised while having fun with friends.
And this come from a huge South Park fan.
Dude, if you can hear Arkin deliver the line "Argofuckyourself" and not laugh, there is no help for you.

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« Reply #14154 on: October 22, 2014, 08:09:58 AM »

Am I imagining things, or do you suddenly have a lot more time to read and respond to silly posts? I hope you didn't just get fired. Maybe you're "between projects" (as they say)?

I'm between projects: finishing derivative stuff with human deadlines for the movies I did the last couple months while getting ready for the next row of projects (starting this weekend). Not enough time in between to do some serious work on personal projects. I've also been updating my editing hardware and software so it leaves me a lot of time just waiting and be ready to move. Hence, here I am.

Dude, if you can hear Arkin deliver the line "Argofuckyourself" and not laugh, there is no help for you.

This one was funny. I forgot about it.

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« Reply #14155 on: October 22, 2014, 08:37:19 AM »

Hyper titoli-itis (acute loss of a sense of humor)

I thought that was my problem?  Huh

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« Reply #14156 on: October 22, 2014, 09:34:32 AM »

Your problem is ADHD. Oh yeah, I think I found the medication you should be on: http://www.strattera.com/?WT.srch=1&srcid=strsem_msn_ub_ub-gen-adhd_43700005470808073_e

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« Reply #14157 on: October 22, 2014, 12:25:30 PM »

RE: our discussion of Eastwood, auteurism, director's style, etc:

I just happened to be reading some movie articles, and came across two pieces by Jim Emerson, who writes on rogerebert.com. I couldn't possibly disagree with him more. I'll quote the relevant portions: (the particular movies the articles are discussing are beside the point; the issue I am focusing on is whether lack of directorial "style" is a bad thing) :

In the first piece http://www.rogerebert.com/scanners/can-one-bad-shot-ruin-an-entire-movie he is discussing whether one bad shot can ruin an entire move, and the relevant portion (6th and 7th paragraphs) says:

The first time I met Ramin Bahrani (director of "Man Push Cart," "Chop Shop," "Goodbye Solo") at Ebertfest in 2006, he said something on stage about why "Mystic River" was a badly made movie. An involuntary cheer arose from my throat, because that movie had been favorably reviewed and I see it as a godawful mess. Slick as hell, but a factory-crafted product directed on auto-pilot. (Give just about anybody a crew of seasoned pros -- the best cinematographer, the best production designer, the best editors -- and shoot it in classical Hollywood style (master shots, two shots, over-the-shoulders, close-ups) and you'll get some kind of movie. Heck, that's one reason the factory style was invented -- so producers and studio moguls would have plenty of options when they assembled the pictures. Think of it this way and you'll understand how directors like Ron Howard can win Academy Awards.)

Ramin cited a scene in "Mystic River" in which a gun goes off in somebody's kitchen. There's a cutaway to a hole in the ceiling. He cited that as an example of what's wrong with the movie. You know the gun went off. Why do you need an insert shot of the hole? Was there somebody upstairs who got hit? It's not a big deal, it's just a cliché, a lazy choice, a momentary distraction that inadvertently raises questions the movie has no intention of dealing with. That particular shot doesn't "ruin the movie," but it's indicative of the kind of over-baked decisions throughout the film that make it a less-than-inspired achievement.


The second article http://www.rogerebert.com/scanners/eastwood-now-and-hereafter is discussing the movie Hereafter; but the portion relevant to our discussion (2nd through 5th paragraphs) says:

... it got me to thinking: I'm not sure I could identify a Clint Eastwood movie on sight. Is there an identifiable Eastwood directorial vision or style, apart from a certain willfully "classical" gloss applied to a professional reserve that sometimes borders on indifference? Is he like a William Wyler or a Robert Wise, a journeyman, capable of making some very good movies, whose sensibility is identifiable primarily through the combined talents of his collaborators? Who is Clint Eastwood, the director?

Eastwood hires top-of-the-line folks (after all, he can), has them do their things, and prides himself on shooting the script as written, on time and on (or under) budget. Some very good directors I know don't consider what he does to be direction so much as project management, because they don't see anything particularly distinctive in the results, film after film. Still, Eastwood can get movies made that perhaps nobody else could, based on the strength of his commercial reputation and long association with Warner Bros.

Some critics I greatly admire find his work impressive and moving. Many of those who've worked with him describe the atmosphere Eastwood fosters on the set as his greatest contribution to the picture: He creates the conditions he needs to get the movie he wants from he people he's hired -- which is, to a lesser or greater extent, what all good directors must do. (See Robert Altman for a striking example.) But, when watching a post-"Unforgiven" Eastwood picture, I frequently detect a peculiar detachment, a feeling that I'm watching something coasting along on auto-pilot without any particular human or artistic vision to guide it.¹ I respond to directors who have been accused of glacial misanthropy -- from Antonioni to Kubrick -- and that is integral to their worldview. With Eastwood, I simply sense an almost mechanical disengagement from his material. Parts of some of these movies seem to have been made by robots.

"Hereafter" is a network narrative (see "Crash," "Babel") unlike anything Eastwood has directed before, and yet it displays the self-consciously sedated rhythms and monochromatic glumness (visual and emotional) familiar from "Mystic River," "Changeling," and other latter day Eastwood movies. (It's a rather affected style, but is that all there is to the Eastwood signature?)


To me, this is horseshit. Maybe I'm not intellectual enough, or not nerdy enough, but IMO, watching a movie is above all else about being entertained. This doesn't mean movies are not art; I don't think art and entertainment are mutually exclusive, and I can greatly admire the brilliance of a piece of music or a painting while at the same time be entertained by it. In fact, being entertained by it IMO is really what makes it great. If something doesn't entertain me, I don't give a damn how difficult it may have been to make or dream up; to me, it's crap.

And this snobbery of putting down directors without a distinctive visual style is laughable. The fact that Emerson can put down William Wyler shows how wrongheaded he is. I just finished reading Peter Bogdanovich's book of interviews with dorectors "Who the Devil Made It," and when the interviewees – many of them auteur directors – are discussing other directors whom they admire, my recollection is that Wyler may have more mentions that anyone else. Billy Wilder, in his book of conversations with Cameron Crowe, praises Wyler very highly, and says The Best Years of Our Lives is the greatest-directed movie ever. Wilder himself wasn't one of those highly stylized directors; he believed that shots shouldn't call attention to themselves. (The one real famous stylized shot Wilder made was the final one of Ace in the Hole.) This doesn't mean there is a lack of ability or imagination on the director's part; it's often a conscious decision to let the story or the action or the scenery or the music speak for itself.
Watch this interview video with Wilder from 2:54–5:20 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=953TcU5JgiM in which Billy specifically says that tries his best for the camera not to call attention to itself.

For people like Emerson who can't appreciate filmmaking like this, all I can say is, I feel bad for them for being unable to be entertained while there is a bug up their ass.

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« Reply #14158 on: October 22, 2014, 01:27:00 PM »

Some of the stuff he says are true.
What doesn't work, though, is that it's very easy to describe Eastwood as an auteur: he's been working on the same very distinctive themes for decades, even when he was just an actor. He's one of the very few guys you can say "it's an Eastwood movie" even when he's playing in it but not directing it. Every single time he releases a movie, critics start arguing about the political standpoint of Eastwood: is he a conservative-republican or a progressive-republican? Is he individualist or a defender of communities? What about races and racism? What does he think about religion/euthanasia/self justice?

The only movie he recently did that avoided these debates was Jersey Boys.

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« Reply #14159 on: October 22, 2014, 02:28:25 PM »

Some of the stuff he says are true.
What doesn't work, though, is that it's very easy to describe Eastwood as an auteur: he's been working on the same very distinctive themes for decades, even when he was just an actor. He's one of the very few guys you can say "it's an Eastwood movie" even when he's playing in it but not directing it. Every single time he releases a movie, critics start arguing about the political standpoint of Eastwood: is he a conservative-republican or a progressive-republican? Is he individualist or a defender of communities? What about races and racism? What does he think about religion/euthanasia/self justice?

The only movie he recently did that avoided these debates was Jersey Boys.

woah, I think you are taking things a little too far here. Which movie besides Million Dollar Baby addresses euthanasia or assisted suicide? What does Mystic River or The Bridges of Madison County, IMO his two greatest movies as director, have to do with his politics, or with his individualism vs. communities? Invictus obviously addresses racism, but which of his other movies as director do so? I think Invictus and J. Edgar are the only two movies he's made that address politics in the past 3 decades or so. (And btw, I am saying this all from memory, I am not looking at any lists of his.) And btw, I don't view Million Dollar Baby as a political statement on assisted suicide; to me, it's just a story about a particular person in a particular situation. And IMO, that's what many of Eastwood's movies are about, just a good story that he wants to film, not a "message picture." Sure, there are some political movies, but anyone who tries to find a political thread going through all or most of his movies is IMO reading something that's not there.

And btw, while I haven't read the debates about the auteur theory, I don't see how not having a distinct style necessarily conflicts with being considered the author of a work. Is it not possible to be the author of a work – i.e. the primary artistic force behind it, the "reason" it is an interesting work – even if there aren't any obvious artistic touches that run through all of one's work? is it not possible to say that if someone consistently puts out terrific movies, you can feel he is the author of the work – that it wouldn't have been as good with someone else making it – even if there isn't a consistent artistic style that runs through all the work?

To be clear, I don't really care much about technical definitions/discussions of auteurism; what I do care about are snobs putting down movies just because the director doesn't scream, "LOOK AT ME!"
(For me, some of the more outlandish "look at me" stuff is highly annoying. Like Godard, I've only seen 4 of his films, and like much of what I saw, but his most blatant stylistic stuff for me was very annoying.) For me, it should never be forgotten that while movies are art, they are more importantly a source of entertainment.

Roger Ebert, in the very last line of his (wonderful) BRD commentary on Casablanca, says Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever, but Casablanca is the one he enjoys the most. For me, that sort of distinction generally doesn't work. The difficulty and technique and 'genius' behind a work are all a means to the end of being entertaining.

Of course, nothing is completely black and white, there are exceptions. E.g. if a movie (like Citizen Kane) theoretically was very innovative in its day but not enjoyed as much now because it's been imitated a million times, I can give it credit for what it meant in its time and how it influenced moviemaking and how it made future movies better, etc. But the point is that seeing the innovation – or seeing the artistic touches of a director – are in itself entertaining, and that's why they are great; not as an end, but as a means to an end, because seeing great art is entertaining.

If you watched that Wilder interview I linked to: I don't agree with Wilder that if a viewer notices a shot, it's a failure cuz now he is no longer involved in the movie. I can enjoy great shots. My favorite filmmaker, Leone, was obviously very stylized. And I love seeing - and noticing – great camerawork. I love Ophuls's elaborate tracking shots, etc. But I can't stand auteurism just for auterism's sake. And I don't think there's any doubt that that's what some auterism is about: saying "look at me; I'm a director" (which perhaps often happens because the director is afraid that critics like Emerson won't take him seriously otherwise).

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