RE: Gabes post:
Since you were a fan of The Tree of Life and Where the Wild Things are, I'd be surprised if you didn't like it.
RE: Gabes post:
Since you were a fan of The Tree of Life and Where the Wild Things are, I'd be surprised if you didn't like it.
As with most early eighties Mexican films, 'La Pulqueria' is a bit tough to follow plot wise as there are a few separate story-lines in which their respective characters never intertwine. Like having three movies in one. From what I could make out, it was about a womanizer trying to straighten up his ship by hiring a psychologist only to end up continuing his trend by sleeping with her. And the devil comes to earth looking for true love. And there is a bar.
I haven't seen the extended cut. The theatrical cut is a masterpiece, but not a film I would consider perfect - nor do I think it was intended to be. It's so formally sprawling and rough-edged (and famously, thirty-plus minutes shorter than it was ever intended to be) that I could easily see it becoming even greater with the extra material. Or, you know, it could over-emphasize certain things that the current cut left vague and damage the film's effects. Only time will tell.
Check out www.indiepix.com. I don't know how the stream looks, but it's a paid rental or download.
Nothing short of 35mm will do it justice, for the record. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be experienced at all!
So I don't watch him but word is that David Letterman spoiled the ending of The Dark Knight Rises, so avoid that and all proceedings articles about him spoiling it. And they were freaking out about online columnists/bloggers seeing it too early.
So Beasts of the Southern Wild...I immediately knew that I didn't hate it, but it's taken me some time to assemble my thoughts appropriately. It's difficult for me to separate the film from the knowledge of who it was made by and how, but I won't dive into that until the next paragraph - which should only be read in hindsight, because I think having that information while watching the film has unfair consequences (good and bad). Ultimately, I've concluded that it's a unique, original, occasionally rousing movie that also happens to be poorly made and remarkably shallow in spite of extraneous efforts to the contrary. All rhetoric about the off-screen elements aside, it strikes an awful lot of false notes, and while I think there's real personality to the people onscreen, I don't think the film has any real understanding of who they are internally. The girl who plays Hushpuppy (the 6-year-old protagonist) is extraordinary, perhaps the one unqualified strength in the entire picture, but again, I point to my previously-expressed thoughts about child acting, because the character is conceived as little more than an eyepiece; the girl just happens to be really vibrant and impossibly loveable. The camera finds a lot of neat things to look at, but the actual photography is often shitty, mistaking shakiness and soft focus for "grit" and "authenticity". The story is given thrust by the extent to which the denizens of New Orleans fiercely protect their beloved homeland, and their view (shared by the authors) that the suggestions/initiatives to vacate their weather-punished homeland strips them of their identity - a noble stance, but one that carries very little weight as it's presented here. The abstract story elements (which, I think, are the chief reason for the Where the Wild Things Are comparisons) simply didn't work for me at all. That's the extent to which you should read unless/until you see it, and my recommendation on that count is to follow whatever inertia you already have (see it if you're already interested, don't go out of your way it if you're inherently put off).
Now, I will say this for the people who have already seen it....I spent most of the first half of the movie trying (and failing) to forget that it had been made by a privileged, East Coast white kid who moved to the Bayou and decided that he was fit to tell the story of these people. That was the main thrust of the anti-Beasts narrative that I had been inundated with ever since the Sundance backlash took footing - that Benh Zeitlin was engaging in the so-called "fetishization of poverty" that afflicts so many disillusioned children of prosperity. The only reason these concerns can even be acknowledged is that Zeitlin (at this point) is not a great artist, but a mediocre one. While he may be moved by his experiences living in the New Orleans gulf, he doesn't show the capacity to transmit insight into this world; but at this point, I believe that his work wouldn't be much more valuable if it were focusing on the world that came from. With all that said (and I'm going to repeat a Twitter rant here), I do think that the effort to discredit him and his work based on his background is extremely misguided, and frankly, a little dangerous. Many of the same people criticizing Zeitlin for attempting to tell the story of another culture are the same people who berate Lena Dunham for keeping her focus squarely on the confines of her own existence. Both charges are ludicrous; there are many great artists born into wealth who also have uncommon powers of perception (Antonioni is the first example that comes to mind; to a lesser degree, I think Dunham's work on "Girls" puts her on the same end of the spectrum), and I think focusing one's criticism on the artist's fortunate heritage can be its own form of poverty fetishization. In Zeitlin's case, I think his intentions were sincere and more than a little ambitious, and I admire him for attempting them; I just happen to think he mostly failed this time.
Exactly. My first comparison was Lance Hammer's Ballast - another recent film in which the director is a Rich White Kid who trains his focus on poor black characters in rural areas, yet manages to find not only lyrical beauty in their surroundings, but a real human center. But George Washington is an even better example because it also (as does Beasts) lifts a lot of Terrence Malick techniques, and does it effectively.
I also think it's completely disingenuous to accuse Zeitlin of creating poverty-porn. I believe one of the great achievements of the film was to show you a world that you've never seen before. A fantasy world, as seen through the eyes of a child living in a very unique geographical place. I don't think this film was ever intended to be a realistic portrayal of "how things really are" in the delta, and the poverty of its residents is completely beside the point. The people seem happy with what they have, for the most part, and it's their isolation from modern civilization that is significant.
You seem to be simultaneously denouncing the criticisms against Zeitlin for choosing this subject matter, while embracing them by suggesting he should stick to what he knows (rich white people.) That's a depressing notion for any artist, I would imagine, and one I'm personally glad this particular director ignored.
I completely disagree with your criticisms of the cinematography. I thought the visual look of the film was extraordinary, and considering the film's budget, almost as much of a miracle as the little girl's performance.
For me, the most compelling aspect of the film was the relationship between the father and his young daughter. Their interactions felt completely genuine to me, and while the young girl is the one getting all the praise, Dwight Henry's performance was equally impressive because was actually reacquired to do a lot more acting while she was greatly aided by the running VO on the soundtrack. Never once did it occur to me that I was watching a black father interact with his black daughter. Or in Gabe's case, the interaction between a poor southern black father and his poor southern black daughter as seen through through the eyes of a rich, white, first-time director from the east coast. Like I said, ignorance is bliss.
Last edited by bobert; 07-13-2012 at 12:40 PM.
This poster gives me a boner.
Everybody has a gun except Van Damme. His kicks are explosive.
Its pretty crazy that Jackie Chan was also asked to be in it. Crazy cast. Still need to see the first one.
Apparently Jet Li is so fast he doesn't even show up on the poster.
I'm pretty sure I'm explicitly defending his right to tell this story regardless of his background; I just don't happen to think he did it well. As I said elsewhere, if the film rang true to me, or if I felt he delved into the way the characters' self-identity was inextricable from their homeland in a way that had any depth, the director's heritage wouldn't even be discussed - but that's not the case. I understand that this was designed to be a fairytale (that couldn't be missed by anyone who sees it), but eschewing neorealism does not grant one license to avoid investing the characters with an inner life beyond the limits of precocious voiceover.The only reason these concerns can even be acknowledged is that Zeitlin (at this point) is not a great artist, but a mediocre one. While he may be moved by his experiences living in the New Orleans gulf, he doesn't show the capacity to transmit insight into this world; but at this point, I believe that his work wouldn't be much more valuable if it were focusing on the world that came from. With all that said (and I'm going to repeat a Twitter rant here), I do think that the effort to discredit him and his work based on his background is extremely misguided, and frankly, a little dangerous.
In regards to the cinematography - I have seen literally hundreds of better-photographed films that had less money than the $1.8M budget on this. Bellflower, for example, had a production budget of 1% what this one is reporting, and it was far more interesting and evocative visually. The production design on Beasts, on the other hand, is extraordinary, and that's what I meant when I said there were "neat things to look at". It's just a shame that the compositions and camera movements felt so thoughtless throughout. I will, however, fully agree with you on Henry's performance - I should have highlighted that as well. He, too, is hamstrung by a thin character, but he invests it with as much feeling as possible.
I think that's jet Li in the tank.
Cutter, watch it, it's fucking awesome. it's such a great example of completely insane '80s action movies, and the fights are brutal. the hand to hand combat in was even better than the gunfights. Dolph Lundgren was a monster in it, his fight with Stallone is one of the best I've seen in years. The jet Li/Steve Austin fight is really great too.
I remember it getting lauded during it theater run and just thinking to myself "These people know what the were buying a ticket for right?" I'll get it on netflix. Seems like the definition of an action popcork flick.
This reminds me that I need to see JCVD again. That movie was sssssooooo good.
I believe it's streaming on Netflix too!
I also think that Zeitlin deserves some credit for the performances of his two leads. It's easy to dismiss the little girl as cute and lovable while her voice over does most of the heavy lifting, but the fact is there's good reason why many directors refuse to work with children: it's damned difficult. For a first-time director to coax performances of that caliber out of two untrained actors is note-worthy. White, black, rich or poor; the materiel demanded a gifted to filmmaker to achieve its potential, and I believe Zeitlin delivered.
the phrase "Also Van Damme" cracks me up and gets me really excited every time Is see it.
Debating on doing the Nolan Batman trilogy. Starts at 6:30pm. Going to have to call the theater and ask about how long they plan to have their intermissions. Don't really recall my theater experience with Begins and I havent seen The Dark Knight since it was in theaters since I got super burned out on it.
Or I'm just going to go to the first screening in the morning since the new one is 3 hours long... Woooo
I don't know how I missed the earlier post about this movie...
out of the 6000 neckbeards in that convention hall, one of them had to have had the stones to record the teaser with the intent of uploading it online SOON
- New high-definition digital restoration, approved by director Roman Polanski, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- New interviews with Polanski, actor Mia Farrow, and producer Robert Evans
- Komeda, Komeda, a feature-length documentary on the life and work of jazz musician and composer Krzysztof Komeda, who wrote the score for Rosemary’s Baby
- 1997 radio interview with author Ira Levin from Leonard Lopate’s WNYC program New York and Company on the 1967 novel, the sequel, and the film
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Ed Park and Levin’s afterword for the 2003 New American Library edition of his novel, in which he discusses its and the film’s origins