Baltic Tossed Salad
OOOOO SNAPS midnight screening of Repo Man Jan fourth.
Saw Moonrise Kingdom last night. The hubby always rolls his eyes whenever I watch a Wes Anderson film (he's more of a bland rom-com guy...bless his heart), but he ended up enjoying it as did I. Not my favorite WA film (that would be Fantastic Mr Fox), but the kids we're very likeable and much easier to root for than most other characters in his other films. Glad that their young love was still alive and well at the end.
earlier this week, I went into Silver Linings Playbook with every intent to carve it the fuck up. But I'm kind of grateful to report that it is actually quite good - by no means a landmark dark comedy like Russell's three best films (let alone Buffalo '66), but certainly deeper, more personal and more alive than The Fighter. One of my many concerns going into this was the extent to which the mental illnesses would be played as quirks rather than genuine afflictions, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film was not only game to go dark and unpleasant during its excellent first act, but also to explore a variety of illnesses in more characters than just those with a diagnosis. There are certainly some flaws here - I understand how a movie about working through mental issues could feel the temptation to present almost all of its back story and much of its subtext via directly stated monologues (i.e., life as therapy), but that doesn't mean it's the best way to tell the story, particularly for a filmmaker with Russell's ample (if perhaps under-deployed and underrated) visual gifts. There's also an ultra-critical element of my interpretation that I may have been WAY off on (I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else) - let's just say it would greatly decrease my enthusiasm if I become convinced that I'm wrong. I'm kind of dying to hear from others who have seen it, so read the next paragraph and share your thoughts. But even if I turn out to be wrong, it's still considerably better than I expected it to be.
So, I basically watched the majority of this film assuming that both Lawrence and Tucker were figments of Cooper's imagination, alternate personalities that he seems to have invented. I honestly expected there to be a late turn wherein we see that these two (and perhaps other characters?) are definitively figments of his imagination; given that this never happens, I'm not sure whether I was right and Russell played it perfectly, or whether I am totally the fuck off base. I first got this impression with Tucker in his first big scene, trying to hitch a getaway ride with Pat and his mom; the fade from Tucker to an empty backseat suggested that he might not be tactile, and his place in the story seemed only to exist as a manifestation of Pat's paranoia about having been released too early. As for Lawrence....let's just say the movie is much more difficult to accept if we're expected to buy her as a flesh-and-blood human. She only really functions as a fantasy construct trying to reawaken Pat's love for himself and his long-suppressed sexual desires - there's enough overt contrasts and similarities in their personalities to think it could be a yin-yang scenario. Given that the movie seems to suggest, ultimately, that their romance was the endgame, I'm starting to have my doubts....but again, I spent basically the 30 minute mark to the end credits assuming that she wasn't real, and it made several of the sillier pieces go down a lot smoother.
Response from anyone who's seen it?
there is nothing heartbreaking about him disavowing that monstrosity. it is just unfortunate that he doesn't outright admit that the film's pedantically juvenile approach to philosophy probably caused him to realize that he wasn't nearly as smart as he thought he was.... hence the simple, uninteresting stuff he's put out since. an admission of his own mediocrity.
We're totally fighting next time I see you. Even if you subtract points for the pedantry of which you accuse it (which I think is appropriate to the nature of the philosophical inquiry the characters engage in), there's so much more to that film - critiques of corporate America, pseudo-artistic pretenses, post-9/11 reflexiveness.... Plus it's so goddamn pleasurable to watch. I just can't fathom how someone who knows good cinema could call it a monstrosity. Randy, sure....but you?
That said, it's impossible to argue on the last point. It clearly took Russell to places (creatively and intellectually) that he didn't want to be, and he's regressed as a result. Silver Linings Playbook affection aside, I've accepted over the past few days that he's never going to return to his '94-'04 peak.
i don't think any of his films are particularly good. and i think he's a cunt for all the reasons that everyone else thinks he's a cunt.
I Heart Huckabees is one of worse movies i've seen. Silverlining was enjoyable somewhat on a comical level. It seemed to devolve into a slapstick comedy, with a Hollywood ending. I was more so happy to see Chris Tucker in a role again. And, I think you're giving Russell too much credit on this Tucker and Lawerence figment imagination thing.
Last edited by buddy; 11-30-2012 at 02:51 PM.
Taking the wife to see Anna Karenina tonight. Any reviews from the peanut gallery? At least I know we have plush reserved seats and alcohol in the theater, so night will be positive no matter what.
sweet. The "plush reserved seats and alcohol" part, no idea about the movie.
'Dogfight' was a pretty fucked up premise, with the ole "who can bring the ugliest girl to the party?" contest, but River Phoenix is so sweet in it for the most part. Why don't they make guys like that anymore? I'd also like to vote 'Steve Zizzou' as the only Wes Anderson film I like. Damn fine piece right there through and through and a favorite moment is when the chorus of 'Life on Mars?' gets turned up loudly at the boat party. Holy crap.
I Heart Huckabees was probably his best flick actually. Flawed for sure, but at least it was funny and had a fairly creative premise, as opposed to the rest of his shit.
Oh wait, except for Three Kings. That was a really solid movie. Not terribly adventurous, but way better executed than anything else.
Just watched Kevin Smith's Red State and fucking loved it. Dark dark humor but I thought it was excellent.
Been trying to dig through this thread for recs for the last few weeks. I just got on PTP and I've been going crazy. One of my new favorites that I'd never seen/heard about was Brick. Loved it... Neo-noir vibes always get me. Can't wait to watch it again.
Watched Blood Simple for the first time ever, god knows why I'd never seen it. Coen bros always deliver. Incredible movie.
Yeah, I watched Brick for the first time a few weeks ago as well. Great flick. I then watched The Brothers Bloom shortly thereafter, and it was solid but I didn't like it nearly as much as Brick.
'Lawless' was a hell of a lot better than those fake bootleg liquor tv shows.
Au Hasard Balthazar
A Man Escaped
The Devil, Probably
Lancelot du Lac (good luck finding it)
The Trial of Joan of Arc
Diary of a Country Priest (the first one I saw - I suspect I'd like it better now, having a better handle on his technique)
Four Nights of a Dreamer (a wildly different take on some of his recurring themes - didn't work for me, but I understand the appeal)
Also, for those who don't regularly scour the LA screening horizon - the Kubrick retrospective at LACMA is in full-swing. All of the screenings are in 35mm with the exception of his two 70mm's, and with the way repertory cinema is heading, this might be the last chance you have to see these films projected on celluloid. 2001 was last night - my second dance with it in 70mm was just as astonishing as the last one. Don't fret if you didn't make it to this, as they said there should be another one in 2013 before the exhibit closes. A Clockwork Orange is next Friday, allowing me to FINALLY see perhaps my single favorite film of all time in 35mm. Jen and I are also planning to see The Shining in a couple weeks. I'm not sure I'll make it to Barry Lyndon - I wouldn't mind if they could swing another screening of that and Strangelove in the new year.
I'm planning to check out Rust and Bone at USC tonight, Promised Land at a free DGA screening tomorrow (it's Van Sant - of course I'll see it for free), and Killing Them Softly (poisonous reception be damned) on Tuesday. I've had a pretty lackluster year for new shit - I've missed a lot of releases, and so far I've basically only loved The Master, Post Tenebras Lux and maybe Moonrise Kingdom - but the repertory circuit has more than made up for it, with multiple screenings apiece from Kubrick, Tarr, Bresson, Godard, Ray and Vertov.
Oh - Amour has a free screening at UCLA on December 12th. I'm planning to be there.
I agree with Randy (!), Brick is pretty empty outside of its gimmick. If you want neo-noir, go with John Dahl.
if you watch a Bresson movie and walk away feeling underwhelmed... you dropped the ball. end of story. definitely helps to take in a bunch of his films at once.
Yeah, I definitely recognize it as my own failings as a viewer more than anything. For whatever reason, for the past several years I've had a really hard time giving my full focus to almost any film I see, so the more dry and austere it is, the harder time I have engaging with it, even if I can appreciate its strengths. I'm hoping it's just youthful hormones keeping my mind a mess and that sometime in my 30s I'll be able to become a far more serious and obnoxious film geek than I am now. This is what J. Hoberman said about Bresson:
Bluntly put, to not get Bresson is to not get the idea of motion pictures—it's to have missed that train the Lumiére brothers filmed arriving at Lyon station 110 years ago.