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Non Spoiler - Last paragraph is a quick summary.
Going into a horror movie i'm never sure what to expect, and that's why i love them so much. In the past 10 years however, horror has experienced somewhat of a struggle. Despite there being a number of very good and notable horror movies in the past 10 years, consistency has been a real problem.
More than anything it feels like as a horror fan, we get one (or two if we're lucky) good movie(s) per year. Most recently however, since 2014 i would say, horror has experienced somewhat of a renaissance. With both The Babadook, and It Follows releasing in 2014, as well as both Raw and Don't Breathe in 2016, i was more than happy to see something refreshingly jaunting coming out of the horror genre with these movies, and for the first time in years i felt excited about what was on offer for me in theatres.
2017 had notable horrors such as It, Gerald's Game, and Mother! not to mention Jordan Peele's wildly succesful mystery thriller/horror Get Out which dealt with many prominent social issues, whilst keeping the audience totally gripped and entranced by the dynamic screenplay.
So heading into 2018 i was more than excited. Especially when John Krasinki's A Quiet Place dropped and left myself, as well as many others, completely shook. The deafeningly monotone movie, with splashes of love and togetherness, which accentuated the characters and the emotions which the audience is made to possess for them, was an absolute treat. And i firmly believed that after seeing that movie, nothing could possibly top it. How wrong i was.
Despite my spike in enthusiasm regarding the release of horror movies in the past few years, i had mixed feelings about Hereditary. On one hand i wanted to believe i would love it for what i had seen in the trailers and what i had heard. And on the other hand i felt like part of me could end up hating it if it got lost in itself or if it became too generic and predictable. What i got was completely unexpected. Hereditary in many respects is a simple horror movie. Many of its shots are borrowed from other movies, and its plot at the foundation is also similar to many succesful horror movies that have been released across the past 10 years. However what seperates it is the complexity of the story beyond the foundation. From the dangerously complex characters, to the witty foreshadowing, and the frantic yet completely sluggish pace of the movie which is hard to describe, Hereditary is a horror movie that is more than a horror movie. It is a painfully exhausting experience that leaves you tired yet in awe.
Going into a horror movie i'm never sure what to expect, and that's why i love them so much. In the past 10 years however, what i have discovered is that the most common expectation when leaving a horror, is for me to be wide awake with my heart racing, with hundreds of thoughts running around in my head. What i got with hereditary however was something i had never experienced before. Upon leaving the cinema i felt pure dread, and exhaustion. The movie is completely exhilerating, and drains you mentally, emotionally, and even physically. It makes you feel every ounce of grief and pain, and essentially aids you in feeling the pain of the characters in the movie. It is an experience that i will never forget.
(Already posted this on /r/Flicks but a user suggested slapping it in here. Interested in hearing more opinions on it so why not.)
I guess it's the theoretical where if you had to be stranded on a desert island... what is the one film you'd take? Let's assume this desert island has a large hd tv made out of coconuts. Like the Swiss Family Robinson, which I realize is actually a potential submission here thanks to the 1960 version, with the really awesome pirate invasion scene.
Anyhow I'm also keen to look into what a Desert Island film entails and what it says about the person. Comfort seems of paramount importance and maybe something uplifting as well? Those long pacific nights after eating papaya and wild celery all day can get a bit heavy. Does it deviate from your favourite film? Is it something silly and fun perhaps?
My choice would be Horse Feathers (1932)
My favourite films? Garden State | 8 1/2 | Stalker | Napoleon Dynamite | Lars and the Real Girl
Some pretty intensely emotional movies for the most part with a fair bit of surrealist levity.
But Horse Feathers, aside from being an exquisite comedic masterpiece, is the movie that I think most makes me enjoy being alive.
I like being alone but I think I'd need it more while being completely stranded.
I had a thought about this movie and came looking for a good subreddit to post it in, so hopefully I'm in the right place.
If 2001 is about the journey of human consciousness, why is there a sci-fi suspense movie spliced into the middle of it? That was my original reaction to 2001. What is HAL? HAL is an arrogant intellect. You might say that it was the potential successor to humanity. But HAL dies. Human consciousness continues, but in a different direction.
So I think this movie is saying that the future of humankind is not HAL-like. It is not arrogant and hyper-intellectual, and it isn't technological.
There's a lot of things that's interesting to talk about concerning the mise-en-scene and cinematography.
Right now i found the framing a bit off. Not bad in that sense - but the frames sometimes feature less of the faces than what I would like to see. Sometimes the characters faces are far on the side of the screen, or they're pretty far of from the camera. It feels unbalanced and unfocused - seems like they're often using telephoto lenses. It's special and maybe that's why I'm thinking about it so much.
The color scheme is pretty muted and often tinted green. It's far from the moderna vibrant colors and feature less contrast i believe.
Seems to have been shot on film (because of high visible grain).
I can imagine Todd Haynes and the team sort of going for a style inspired by the 50's. What do you think about the look of the film.
Sorry if I'm being uniterstingly vague.
For a video version of this review, see here:
Seeing Jurassic World on the weekend was the worst cinema experience I’ve ever had in my life. I know many places and people have had it worse, but where I live people are really civil. This day was a nightmare though. For starters, as soon as the film started I found myself needing a piss, but didn’t want to miss anything so I stayed in my seat and by the time the credits started rolling my bladder was in genuine danger of popping like a balloon to be the day’s best jump scare.
Throughout this though, I had the geeza behind me kicking my chair every time he crossed his legs, which was about every half a second, a guy constantly rustling his popcorn bag so loud like he was trying to wake the dead, a middle aged couple a few rows away yapping away constantly, but the worst was this kid, I’m guessing around 5 years old, moaning, screaming, laughing, and running up and down my isle and rocking chairs back and forward with his parents blissfully watching the film without a care in the world. It was really rude. There were some dialogue scenes were I did miss what people had said because of the kid’s noise. I can understand it if you want to enjoy a dinosaur film with your family, I must’ve been about 5 when I first saw Jurassic Park but you can bet my folks would unsheathe their swords and spears if I made a racket in the cinema. This couple didn’t give two hoots, and the stuards came very close to telling them to leave. On top of all this, I didn’t even want to see Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom anyway, I only went because the Mrs wanted to see it, and after all that I turned to her and asked “Did you like it?” and she said “No, it was crap!”
Anyway, none of these catastrophizes can be attributed to the movie itself. I did my best to focus my attention on the big screen in front of me. I’m not a big fan of the first Jurassic World. Spielberg’s original is a classic, a gamechanger, I’ve got a soft spot for the second, the third I can do without but the fourth movie was the first one that I thought to myself, this doesn’t even feel like a Jurassic Park movie. So I didn’t have the highest of expectations going into this one.
If you’ve seen the trailers you pretty much know the story. A volcano is erupting which will kill off all the dinosaurs that are still alive after the events of the last movie, and an expedition which includes returning characters played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard is sent to rescue them in what is essentially The Lost World on steroids. But then it turns out that it wasn’t really a rescue mission at all, and the shady folks that orcistrated the whole thing are in fact selling off the dinosaurs to rich billionaires and warmongers. Pratt and Howard are joined by two hipsters and together they form our group of pretty bland and colourless protagonists. I’m starting to really question Chris Pratt’s ability. He’s no Pacino of course but I did think he was quite charismatic and likable in Guardians of the Galaxy but the more I see of him the more I feel he is incapable of carrying a blockbuster. I was also quite surprised at the treatment of Howard’s character. She was largely at fault for the hullabaloo that went on in Jurassic World which caused loads of deaths and shut down the park and yet there is no repercussion for her actions and negligence. A stab at redemption is mentioned but she has essentially gone from inept, emotionless, vulture-like businesswoman who played a part in a massive catastrophe to being the lovable sidekick. In general though, the characters felt less like people and more like vehicles to move the movie from one place to another.
I was quite disappointed with the special effects in the film, which has always been one of my pet-peeves with recent mainstream movies in general. It wasn’t that they were sci-fi channel level horrendous, it’s just that for the most part the effects are cookie-cutter standard mediocre Hollywood CGI blah. The special effects are completely interchangeable with the 10s of other crappy effects driven cash grabs that Hollywood shits out every year. And that wouldn’t be a problem if this was a Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson vehicle but this is Jurassic Park, the franchise, or at least the film, that was one of the great pioneers of movie special effects in the modern age. The animatronics and puppets had the legendary Stan Winston behind them, the CGI usage was minimal, delicate and restrained, the scenes were properly storyboarded and well thought out, and a wholly creative director in his prime was behind the camera. The Lost World’s effects were equally stupendous, there was a noticeable but slight dip with JP3, and then Jurassic World was released with some effects genuinely looking like they hadn’t been completed. Fallen Kingdom continues this sad but steady decline with really poor digitally rendered dinosaurs, and practical effects enhanced and coated in so much CGI and colour correction that they look CGI anyway. And it wasn’t even the dinosaurs – trees, mountains, dust, fire all rendered through a computer that really gave the film a stale, sanitized feel. It feels as whole thing was shot on two sets, one with a massive green screen and a couple of plastic hedges for the scenes set in the island, and the second with a couple of corridors and rooms for the mansion, despite the fact that they went to Hawaii to make the film.
Credit where it’s due, the film’s centrepiece, the IndoRaptor, looked great, it really did. The design was great and it looked real, it looked tangible, like it was there, it was looking at you, and it could get you. But I don’t know whether they blew their entire budget on the creature or what, because none of the other dinosaurs looked good and quite frankly I’m bored of complaining of shit CGI and special effects in films. It doesn’t mean I’m gonna accept it, and I do understand why a lot of people don’t have a problem with it and see guys like me as nitpickers. To enjoy a good old-fashioned, turn-your-brain off blockbusters, people want different things. Some people want absolutely no politics, no message. Others want the good guys to always win. For me, a minimum requirement is that the effects look tangible, it looks like the dinosaurs are really there moving around. If it doesn’t look like they’re there, I can’t get invested, I can’t get excited during a chase sequence or a hunt for survival, I just can’t even if I try. The effects don’t even need to be good, I’ve seen a lot of 80’s and 90’s films with practical effects where the effects were rubbish, it’s that they need to look like they’re actually there. And aside from the IndoRaptor, Fallen Kingdom fails big time.
There’s loads of problems with the dinosaurs in this movie. First of all, there’s too many of them. There’s no sense of wonder like the build up to the Brachiosaurus in the original, no sense of trepidation like in the jungle in The Lost World – Fallen Kingdom just grabs every dinosaur possible and throws as much as it can in your face. There’s literally dinosaurs tumbling over each other and squeezing themselves into every possible frame. I can’t believe they managed to make dinosaur boring and saturated. D’you remember the complaints about the star wars prequels that everyone kept on whipping out their lightsabres every two minutes? Fallen Kingdom does something similar with the prehistoric beasts, shoving them everywhere possible like some nepotistic school play teacher pushing his kid to the front of the stage.
Another direction this movie and its predecessor went with, in regards to the dinosaurs, is that they are like characters now. What happened to the animals that eat, shit and sleep, the ones that attached only if they felt threatened or were hungry? When Fallen Kingdom isn’t treating some dinosaurs like crazy monsters addicted to murder, others are individualised to the point that you’re wondering whether this isn’t an adaption of my first dinosaur. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is like an old family friend, a cousin that pops around on special occasions, and bites baddies in a due ex machina again and again, with the film makers clearly scared to kill her off lest fans riot. The raptor blue is another offender, coming off less as an animal bred in captivity but more of a recurring soap opera character. And what’s with the IndoRaptor pretending to be asleep, opening his eyes every couple of seconds with a shit-eating grin on his face when one of the mercenaries turns around, like a bloody pantomime villain. What is all this? They don’t move or act like animals any more, and are never shown in an environment where they are just being animals. The closing shot of The Lost World was always one of my favourite scenes in the franchise, when you see the two T Rex’s chilling with their young, the Stegosaurus herd grazing and ambling forward, a couple of other dinos here and there doing their thing. Nature in perfect balance. Such a scene could not exist in today’s Jurassic Park movies – the T Rex’s would have probably jumped on the Stegos, hacking and snapping their jaws with Stegs whipping his tail back and forth in rage.
It’s too much. It’s too much crash bang wallop and I tried really hard but I just couldn’t care about anything going on on the island. Spielberg made a cup of water and the sound of footsteps more exciting than anything in Fallen Kingdom. The Dino run could have potentially been one of the great adventure scenes, Indiana Jones running away from the boulder, ET flying across the moon, instead it just looks like a pixilated mess. The second half of the movie, though many plot elements were contrived like how a dinosaur containment facility was built in a guy’s basement without his knowledge the introduction of some crazy subplots like cloned humans, was a lot better because they scaled everything down. Everything was suddenly a lot more relatable and realistic. You’re stuck in a mansion, there’s a dino in there. You’ve got to get out and make sure he doesn’t. It was very simple and by far and away contained some of the film’s better scenes.
For the most part though the movie just shoves too much in your face. It leaves nothing to imagination, nothing to ponder. I’ll give you an example, there’s a scene where they show an Allosaurus, my personal favourite dinosaur, and though it was quite big a character mentions that it is still a juvenile. So I started thinking “Hmm, I wonder what it looks like as an adult. I wonder how big it grows, what it mainly uses for attach, what it’s hunting style is etc etc” That was the only scene where the film even momentarily stimulated my brain into thinking, or wondering.
I probably enjoyed it a little more than the last film, but Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom didn’t do it for me. It felt quite interchangeable with all these other mediocre effects-driven blockbuster. It lacks the charm of the Jurassic Park movies, it wasn’t effective enough in its louder brash scenes and didn’t have any room whatsoever for the quieter, rich scenes that really elevate a movie like the silent helicopter ride home in the original. I give it a 5.5 out of 10.
P.S. how about that auction, huh? In a world where footballers are moving teams for £200m, a living, breathing dinosaur clone only costs $10m.
Back in the 1930s and 40s, as the studio system and the Hays code were in their peaks, Frank Capra was one of the most important directors in Hollywood. He helmed such classics like “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946). His films have become milestones of american cinema, always blended in with a heartfelt story and clever humour. In 1944 he released “Arsenic and Old Lace”, today somewhat lesser known than the previously mentioned titles, and yet still considered an undisputable classic for those who know it. Based on a classic Broadway play by the same name and starring Cary Grant, the film is a clear example of how classy and utterly funny comedies at the time could be.
“Arsenic and Old Lace” tells the tale of the Brewster family, who descended from the Mayflower and are currently located in New York. Virtually every member is considerably crazy: Teddy (John Alexander) fancies himself to be Theodor Roosevelt, the long lost Jonathan comes back home followed by the law and with a few crimes under his belt, and aunts Abby and Martha (Josephine Hull and Jean Adair, respectively) have a very sneaky and secretive habit that has to do with the basement. The only apparently sane one is Mortimer (Cary Grant), who is about to get married with Elaine (Priscilla Lane), but he’s worried his family’s troubled genes will come back to haunt him. About 80% of the film takes place in the living room of the Brewster house, and conflict arises as Martimer slowly begins to realize his family members’ dark secrets. Also, another character that needs to get mentioned is Dr. Einstein (yes, really), played by Peter Lorre, who accompanies Jonathan to his childhood home.
No offense but I feel like I see a post about Fight Club or Lanthimos’ films multiple times a week all saying relatively the same thing. While I love these films deeply and appreciate that people want to get into film, I think there is value in reading past posts to ensure that your input is new and not beating a dead horse. Maybe there should be a master thread for commonly discussed films? Is there a benefit to be gained from rehashing the same points? Feel free to trash me if you disagree, but I felt the need to say something.
What are some impactful little details you have noticed in movies that blew you away? I don't mean easter eggs. Details that make you go "wow" but also have meaning to the film. Maybe something you didn't notice the 1st time through the movie or you had to have someone point it out to you. Something that just makes you love film even more.
Recent example for me:
I was just listening to the podcast The Cine-Files and they were breaking down the movie Die Hard.
Beethoven's Ode to Joy is playing in a very subtle way throughout the movie. The initial versions of it are always a little dissident. It is used with the arrival of the "bad guys" in the movie. Always a little off and not right.... until the big pay off when they get into the safe and the joyous version plays.
-A string quartet is playing it when Hans and his group crash the cocktail party.
-When Hans exits the Pacific Courier truck and enters Nakatomi Plaza is is played with dark tones.
-Theo whistles it as he takes control of the building's tech hub.
-Hans is humming it in the elevator with Takagi .
-Finally the full uplifting version plays when they break open the safe.
This blew me away because is is such a subtle thing for an Action movie to do. I think it is what Hollywood misses when it tries to make big action blockbusters. Just the little things that round out a movie and make it more than just explosions.
Does anyone have any recommendations for film magazines or periodicals that are of a higher calibre than, say, Empire?
I'd like to read more print if I can, but am also willing to consider worthy online publications. Looking for websites not totally in thrall to mainstream cinema news - you know, nothing with countless articles about Star Wars or superheroes clogging my feed.
Sorry if this comes off snobby - in point of fact, I like both Star Wars and superheroes a whole lot - I'm just trying to expand my horizons a little.
I'm a big fan of the late Milos Forman's Amadeus, and you may know that there were two cuts released officially.
The original theatrical cut (2 hours, 40 minutes) was released on DVD (but never scanned into HD); the longer director's cut (3 hours) was released on DVD and later Blu-Ray, and is perhaps most known for featuring Mrs. Mozart's bare chest (although this is not the only scene added to the longer version).
Between the two, despite the better picture quality of the Director's Cut, I prefer the original version. Why? As Emperor Joseph says, "Too Many Notes." Although the Salieri-Constanze scene can complicate the character of Salieri and his moral compass (which I have mixed feelings about --- I find Salieri more of a rootable-for underdog in the original, which I enjoy), the other scenes---where Mozart goes to teach the young Schlumberg daughter with the yipping dogs, begs Salieri for money and then begs Herr Schlumberg for money---seem to sour the movie for me, as they seem to be truly extraneous and frankly a bit of an annoying change of pace (especially as they are not fully underscored with Mozart's genius music). On top of this, the slight modifications (one or two extra lines) in Salieri's monologues throws me off a bit, although this is more because I saw the theatrical cut first and am not used to the particular shot --- a first-time viewer of the Director's Cut would be getting no better or worse an experience by watching these scenes.
In the Director's cut blu-ray, there is one audio glitch as well, which bothers me slightly: the woman who says "by Händel" at the party now says "bändel," with just one slight moment of the audio cut off. This is more of a technical glitch than a filmmaking decision, of course.
There is indeed a fan project to "restore" the original cut by using the director's cut; while I can't tell you where to find it online, I will say that it's sufficiently sloppy that I prefer to simply watch my rip from the original two-sided DVD release (put together into one file).
Recently, I was online and saw a peculiar version of the movie: https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/077411-000-A/la-ferme-des-animaux/ (this is only available for the next week or so, and only in France and Germany, I believe); this is, as indicated by the HD scan, as well as the opening and closing credits (and the fact that it uses the Director's Cut blu-ray German and French dubs), the Director's Cut; however, it is then recut to exclude all the parts that are not in the original theatrical release. The issue is this: the Director's Cut is not a perfect superset of the original release, and there appears to be about 10 minutes of footage that is cut out during the film (nothing plot important, from a quick skim, nor any seeming censorship of vulgarity, but it is around 10 minutes shorter than the original cut). I will need to watch this version more in-depth to report on the differences, but it's interesting that the Arte channel apparently undertook their own "reconstruction"/recutting project.
So what are your thoughts? Which cut do you prefer, and why?
Edit: the link was actually https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/041207-000-A/amadeus/, whoops
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What a truly bizarre movie.
I haven’t watched anything from Miike prior to this (I do own Ichi The Killer on Blu-ray but haven’t watched it yet). Visitor Q came into my work on dvd, and I decided to borrow it and give it a watch.
Overall, I thought it was good. Obviously if you can get past the disturbing subject matter, I personally think there is an interesting film in there. It makes interesting points about how society, and interpersonal relationships have changed with home video cameras.
I haven’t been able to dig into it much beyond that observation, or read any reviews so I’m curious what some of you think and how you interpret the film/specific moments in the film. Thanks!
This film is haunting. I don't exactly know what cohesive thought I can slap onto it, as it is a very complicated film. I genuinely loved almost all of it, and the stuff I didn't was so minor that I don't even want to mention it. The performances from Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie were absolutely phenomenal. I loved how their story was told. It was edited extremely well. On a technical level it was very impressive and did not at all seem like a [normal or average] film from the 70s. I am very curious in Nicolas Roeg's other work. I have already seen The Witches which I really enjoyed but it doesn't at all reach the levels that this film did. I would highly recommend this film to anyone wanting a darker, moderately surreal film.
(this is just my letterboxd review, to be found here: https://letterboxd.com/eamon13/film/dont-look-now/ )
Thoughts? Agree or disagree? I am interested if someone dislikes the film why they do so, I couldn't find anything inherently wrong with it so I would love to hear if you did.
(In brackets was edited in)
I'll start it saying that it is not a completely positive critic, au contraire, it is mostly negative. Anyway, before everything starts, I want to talk about her. I don't want to disrespect a great talented director like Chantal Akerman, and I understand that after her departure talking about her work could be seen as a touchy subject; if not for everyone, at least for me, because this is not the first of her movies I watched. Before Jeanne Dielman there was "La folie Almayer" that I loved for the intense shots and the great direction of the main character, a real talent on doing so that I've seen manifested also in "Tomorrow we Move", one of the most beautiful and at the same time artistic comedies I've ever seen. Saying so I want to demonstrate that there's not hate towards her on this post, and to prove it I showed how much I esteem her, despite even the conflictual relation between me and her movies, relation particularly regarding the one I'm going to write down right now, and "No Home Movie", but that, even though the similarities between the two of them, it's another and different journey.
So... I'm not a guy easy to dishearten, I've some sort of familiarity with long and slow movies, so it's hard to bore me, but, and it's hard to say that for me, I found out this movie as a really boring and monotonous one, a common critic I know, but I bet that this was something wanted from the director. She wanted to break rules not over the technics of a movie but on the real way a movie is conceived, and somehow she did it, but with a contestably disgusting film. I'll assume that art is not only about "breaking rules", it'll be too easy if it really is like this. Anyway, yes, you can follow in details the life of a mother, focusing mostly on the ordinary things of life, make this routine became a little by little, in an hardly perceivable way, more and more chaotic with a climax of the events till an absolute decline and a brutal ending. You can do this, for sure, but you'll just get a humdrum and repetitive movie, and in the case of Jeanne Dielman, a movie with horrible and anaesthetic shots, with a rare variation (this intend not only in the cinematography), witch an incapability of the director of giving emphasis to the scenes that deserves it, and give moments that really involve the viewers their right weight (a sort of break from the events of the movies), with a script, or better, with an absence of a script, and with ridiculous dialogues, with a direction focused only on irrelevant things, and again incapable of constructing a (and I'm becoming myself repetitive) diversificated and contrasted image, and, at last with actors that are not acting and that are not directed, even tough the main character is a valuable actress, we see her completely wasted in this film. The last point could be contestable being her a semi documentarist, and be part her mannerism, but this isn't a documentary, or at least, not at all. To shorten, this movie denotes serious practical lacks, and all of it exists by the directors will.
But could a movie like this be framed in the history of cinema? and more important, can we really call this movie a piece of art? Well, some may, and some may not, and I'm on this last side. Because art is something difficult to objectively (when it's possible to do so) recognize, perceive, address and finally, enjoy. Is something more personal, and there's no doubt about it, we can imagine a sort of line that usually divides artistic works and not artistic works, sometimes thick and other times thin, but when it comes to this movie, it take the shape of a questioning point. In a IMDB review a guy paired this movie with Tarr's Turin's Horse, and well, I think it's not really the case, because "The Turin Horse" is freed of all the faults of Jeanne Dielman, but thinking, how can I, or everybody else, determinate the depth of the line I talked before between these two works, well, that's the real question. Before talking about this I think it's better to talk about the positive notes of Jeanne Dielman. In this post essentially I'm criticizing the realization of this movie, but I really praise it, and I praise even more its director, for how she turned upside down the concept of movie, for how she changed the process that hides behind the conceiving of a movie, a something really bad realized in this movie in a material way, but of an incredible importance, specially if it's the 1975 and there are no traces of something similar before it. Call her a pioneer isn't enough, she inspired a plethora of director with this work, and I'm questioning myself if a work like the already mentioned Turin's horse could have even existed without Jeanne. Surely yes, but it wouldn't have been the same it is now for sure. This way of think could fit also for other movies, like, for example, "From what was before", a movie with a slow declining climax that i immediately paired with the one in Akerman's work. I could go on for ages talking about how much a so badly realized movie changed the concept of cinema making examples with even more recent movies. For me "Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels" it's not art by itself, but instead a form of art for what is became trough the years, an art not affecting the work but what the work leaves behind it, that's the thickness I give to this "art/noart-line". Artistic in his heritage, and that is something incredible.
I'm looking for suggestions. Lately I've been on a big Sion Sono kick. Along with that, I've done rewatches of Hideaki Anno's two live action features (Love & Pop, Ritual). And to a lesser extent, I've been watching Takashi Miike's more reputable/acclaimed films.
I'm curious if there are any filmmakers on the other side of the globe that are similar. What I'm specifically interested in are low budget filmmakers who take full advantage of the freedom shooting quickly on digital allows them. Filmmakers who may incorporate various experimental techniques, and who kind of go off the map as far as character arcs or plot structuring are concerned.
On the surface, Tarantino or von Trier appear to be counterparts, but they really aren't, as they still stick to rather traditional narratives and are a little more controlled in their experimentation, preferring to "perfect" existing techniques, as opposed to trying something off the wall that may or may not fail. Also, they are afforded much larger budgets and just have an overall gloss and prestige to their films. The movies I'm looking for should have a more "punk rock" DIY aesthetic or ethos present.
I started rewatching Jericho yesterday, and as much as I loved it the first time around, something just felt … off. The pace was all wrong. The characters weren’t developed as much as I remembered.
I started thinking about what has changed, and I’m not sure whether it is my taste or film in general. For instance, I don’t watch TV anymore. At least, not my parents’ television. I don’t remember the last time I saw a pharmaceutical ad. Everything I watch is on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Showtime, or HBO.
When it happened, I thought Jericho was canceled way too early, and the wrap up felt rushed. I can only imagine how that would feel now.
In contrast, I do love the limited series format on Netflix. Godless felt epic in just a few episodes, not like the old TV Miniseries. What an upgrade. I wish Netflix would produce The Stand.
I’m curious about how the production climate might affect the difference between a show like Jericho and a Netflix series where you know you’re going to be producing at least a season at a time. What do you think?
I'm planning to watch more of Takashi Miike's filmography in the next few months. He's a very peculiar director that kind of reminds me of Stephen King, as he likes to disturb the ones who consume his work and unleashes an unreal ammount of artwork every year.
Naturally I thought I should start to watch him with one of his most acclaimed and talked about movies (not yet Ichi the Killer): Audition.
I could try to analise it, as there are a lot of themes involved in the story's progression (sexism, machism, conservatism, unhealthy relationship dynamics, dealing with loss,etc), but I'll instead talk about one of the aspects that, in my opinion, made the film so memorable: the antagonist, Asami Yamazaki.
For some reason, the actress that played the character was able to cause me bone chills at the first sight I glanced over her, so much so that I tried to figure out why.
If you watched the movie, you know that her character changed drastically throughout the film, but even at first, when she seemed like a normal and traditional angel girl, I saw something scary on her. Maybe it was her short answers, overshy way to interact and constantly calm/respectfull tone; all of those would not be such factors if it wasn't a Miike film. The way she always dressed in white...also unnerving for some reason.
The scene that changed the film's pace, you know, that one with her waiting for the phone call, is one of the scariest of the movie to me. Her slendery body sitting in an odd position, showing off her bones below her skin, her long hair covering most of her face and that goddamn bag in the background...before the phone rings. I don't know if it was the loud ring, her slow smile appearing or the abrupt movement of the bag that made this scene so difficult to watch.
All that follows is nearly a huge hallucination untill the torture scene. It seems to me that what came before the final scene was not just a shown of the insanity she caused on Aoyama due to his loneliness, but also a build up to the persona of hers the final act shown us, as more of her past is supposely shown and her figure starts to become more and more intimidating. If at the beggining of the movie we could barely look at her eyes, now we're scared to do so whenever she appears.
Then we got the torture scene. Some of the most agonazing minutes you'll ever watch on a screen. And what's even worse is that, apart from some changes like the leather on her outfit, Asami is exactly the same, even after the drastic personality change. She acts just like before, speaking calmly and slowly, with delicate gestures as she put nails over Aoyama's body and no rushing precision as she cuts his left foot. Even after Aoyama's son saves him and pushes her downstairs, she gives him (and consequently us) one last scary sign as she speaks about her life one last time as she dies. Asami Yamazaki...is stuff from nightmares.
https://thefilmera.com/2018/06/15/film-frame-friday-kimi-no-na-wa-your-name/ link has all the pictures making for an easier read
A decidedly less depressing melodrama feature from Shinkai, the famed director of Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru (5 Centimeters per Second, 2007) and Koto no ha no Niwa (The Garden of Words, 2013), Kimi no Na Wa. (Your Name., 2016) looks at the collective experience of disasters at the individual level, highlighting the painful interaction of trauma with very medium-specific devices at his disposal. About a young boy (Taki) from the city and a young girl (Mitsuha) from the country inexplicably inhabiting each other’s body after a night’s sleep, this rom-com setup quickly turns into a traumatic experience when Taki discovers that Mitsuha is from the past and already dead, a victim of an asteroid crash on her hometown. Shinkai’s signature use of beautiful colors gives the sensational visual pleasure his films are often known for, but they also play a role in juxtaposing beauty with trauma: in this case, the asteroid disaster. Such a paradox forms the thematic backbone in the film’s visual and narrative foundation and guides the audience through the story of (fantastic) reclamation.
What interests me the most is the how that paradox is visually represented. The stark contrast between beauty (and the wondrous experiences associated with it) and trauma (and the painful experiences associated with it) are often side-by-side, as Shinkai highlights their differences as well as their connections. There is a binary, like any film with some sort of a rupture, but Kimi no Na Wa.’s binary is not necessarily irrevocable, but rather merely separated. Shinkai achieves this in a very animation-specific concept of "line." The line in animation is the foundation of everything. We often refer to traditional 2D animation as 2D because it is made up of two-dimensional shapes, consisting of lines and colors. A line separates the inside from the outside, a character from the environment, clarity from obscurity. The line is the ultimate divider.
But that’s not always the case in the film. Just as the line divides, the line connects—another characteristic of a line. Horizontally, it separates but it also marks the edge where two objects meet, and vertically, it becomes a thread that ties two distanced objects together. The line also leads one from a place to another, as we often use the term to denote subway lines (in Japanese, subway lines are called Rosen, literally meaning “road line”). Metaphorically, a line becomes a line of clues that leads, in this case, Taki to Mitsuha’s past. These multiple meanings of line, often in terms of borders in live-action films, have been the thematic topic of many films, yet Shinkai’s work in this film is notable precisely because it is an animation. He is almost obsessively using the line in his visual direction. Here, the line separates, connects and ultimately leads the characters, trauma, memory and the story.
The most obvious way the director uses this is, of course, the concept of the red thread (akaiito), often connoting a fateful, romantic bond between a couple in East Asian culture, and a very overused cliché in Japanese anime. Here, the red ribbon connects Taki and Mitsuha, the past and the present, the couple, and becomes a leader to help Taki to avert the disaster. But it is not the only line featured in the film—in fact, a lot of lines in the film are often visual and metaphoric. The shot composition Shinkai frequently employs in the film is one that divides the screen with a line: like the reunion of Taki and Mitsuha on top of the mountain, a narrative point where the two finally meet face-to-face despite the temporal rupture that exists between them. It appropriately happens during twilight, the time marked by its in-betweenness, a line and a line-blurred. In this shot, Shinkai is fully aware of both the divisive and connective function of a line, using the paradox fully to his (and the characters’) advantage, reaffirming the separation between them while revealing the separation can be overcome. The line signifies where they are physically separate and where they meet spiritually.
Often, films (especially diaspora cinema) have used the concept of a border as the visual representation of social, cultural and political boundary. In anime, the most famous use of border comes in Neon Genesis Evangelion’s (Anno Hideaki, 1995-6) AT-fields, where border/boundary is conceptualized as the distinction between the self and the other. The crossing of that border was established by Tomino Yoshiyuki’s Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-80) and its concept of Newtypes, which proposes a utopian look at the abolishing physical boundaries.
Where Kimi no Na Wa. differentiates with both its live-action and animated predecessors is that it sees division as part of life, a fatalistic concept. Mitsuha’s grandmother, a Shinto priestess, teaches her granddaughters that the small stream on top of the mountain is the line between the world of the living and the world of death. The film does not necessarily see the dividing line (nor its necessity) as negative—instead, they are where two things are met and separated. Perhaps conceptually similar to Coco’s (Lee Unkrich, 2017) use of its own border, Kimi no Na Wa. realizes that lines form the basis of human interaction with each other, nature, and their own selves.
Take another example of a frequently used line in the film: the tail of the comet, which eventually crashes too (initially) unsuspecting Mitsuha’s small town, visually symbolizes the ultimate divide between Taki and Mitsuha. But it is also through the comet that numerous binaries are met: since the comet is the one that begins the story of the two, it connects Taki and Mitsuha, the living and the dead, the past and the present, the reality and the dream, the beauty and the trauma.
Of course, the comet itself is more of a “dot” than a “line.” The “dot” in the film represents the single largest catalyst between Taki and Mitsuha. But there is another “dot” in the film, or more specifically, in its title. The period ends a sentence, just as it ends a line. The film uses the “lines” to overcome the “dot” throughout, and while the “dot” arrives regardless, the humans persevere. Shinkai once said in an interview that this film is his own attempt to represent and cope with the trauma of the Tohoku Earthquake, and if understood in that perspective, it is not surprising the film’s fatalist look at nature is contained in a wholly humanist perspective. This is especially clear (with a hint of irony) in the shots of Mitsuha’s eye that hold the comet falling down.
Coming back to the point of individual experiences of trauma as a frequent reminder to the audience, it is unsurprising then the concept of border is often unstable in the film. In a classic Ozu tradition, Shinkai repeatedly uses a shot of sliding doors (Mitsuha’s house to subway doors). Unlike Ozu however, who used sliding doors in deep-space compositions to reflect the flattening of 3D objects, Shinkai places the doors in the middle. This does not open the screen space to offscreen space and instead abolishes the divide within screen space. A typical hinged door prompts the subject to open the door to outside (pushing away) or the inside (pulling), which establishes individualistic subjects. Yet, the sliding doors, especially in the composition Shinkai gives us which places the doors as a line as opposed to a screen in Ozu’s frontal composition, do not have a single subject, and instead, operate to connect and divide the characters—a frequent visual significance that “lines” serve in the film.
The sliding doors either open/close intentionally (when Mitsuha opens her doors) or unintentionally (subway doors). The line that connects and divides us may or may not be up to our control, yet they are inherently permeable. The line separates yet connects--and this is why, coming back to the shot at the mountain where the two leads finally meet, all the dividers are at the same time connections. The film recognizes the destiny that arrives (comet, dot) yet it refuses to set the binary in stone, looking for ways to reconnect them. It is a human-centric drama that frequently searches for its own ending, it’s own “dot,” in the face of a seemingly inescapable traumatic destiny.
Maybe that is why when the title is said in the film, the dot, the period, isn’t there—it just hangs, for the audience. The line is there. It’s up to you to cross it.
Tarkovsky is one of the great filmmakers but all of his films generally fall under the blanket of "intensely visual character driven drama" and even Solaris trends heavily towards this as his most unique film in terms of genre. So he's out. For this post.
Kubrick is an interesting suggestion. The Shining is a top notch horror film and 2001 is definitely a science fiction film. He made many war films and even dabbled in romance to some extent with Lolita. Quite alot of variety. Very impressive given the quality as well.
Ultimately it seems really rare for filmmakers to move between genres. Ingmar Bergman's 1962 Rom-Com Linnea och Matthias gå till affären för att köpa blommor (Linnea and Matthias go the shop to buy flowers) came as a breath of fresh air to many for this very reason. My joke there is to try and underscore how rare it is for most filmmakers to deviate from their most comfortable style.
Southland Tales was always a film I felt was judged harshly. Even if it was incoherent in its ideas, it had a few things going for it. Firstly, it had a nice aesthetic with the set designs that ranged from minimalist to overblown when the mood suited. Secondly, it had a definite momentum and energy to it. Thirdly, the wild pace and chaotic nature of the story allowed for many interpretations to be taken from it. I also respect that, much like the director's cut of Donnie Darko, the prequel comics merely give you the information needed to form a coherent explanation and you are left to connect the dots yourself.
The reason I started this thread was simply to demonstrate an idea I had while first watching it. In the movie, reality TV star Krysta Now releases a CD containing the track "Teen Horniness is not a Crime". The CD is sent to the Republican party's office. This annoys the Republican candidate who says that he never said it was. This reminded me of this Aldous Huxley quote: "As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends correspondingly to increase. And the dictator will do well to encourage that freedom...it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate." Krysta's vapid celebration of sexuality serves as a distraction from the true issues plaguing the Southland although her attempts at tackling "real issues" also fall miserably short as one can see in her talk show. It is sent to the Republican party leader who in this universe has implemented an oppressive extension of the patriot act that allows the internet to be monitored and put under government control while also increasing border restrictions and tightening overall security at the expense of freedom. The party leader is more offended at the implication that he would be offended than the actual content of the video, showing how he is reluctantly in support of Krysta's sexual politics despite being so repressive in other areas.
I may be talking out of my ass here. If there was any movie death of the author was made for, it would be Inland Empire. But Southland Tales comes in at a close second.