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Old 01-20-2008, 03:37 AM   #886
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Quote:
Originally posted by LemonMacPhisto


I think he's said that's the best movie he'll ever make... but that was in 1999.
Well, considering I consider Punch-Drunk Love a better film than Magnolia... And I'd probably rate TWBB higher than both.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:34 PM   #887
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Yikes.

I should be getting PDL on NetFlix soon.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:36 PM   #888
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Originally posted by LemonMacPhisto
Yikes.

I should be getting PDL on NetFlix soon.
13 days until you die, suck-mix.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:42 PM   #889
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Got that one covered on DVR.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:48 PM   #890
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Be cautious though, I'm one of the few people I've seen who prefers PDL to Magnolia.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:55 PM   #891
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It's cool, I'm just trying to see Punch-Drunk and Sydney before There Will Be Blood.

That includes watching Magnolia again, too.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:58 PM   #892
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Here's what I've seen over the past four days at the pictures:

I’m Not There
At the risk of jumping onto the bandwagon, this is my favourite film of 2007. While I strongly believe that 2007 was a much better year for films than 2006, by the end of it I had yet to see a film that left me with a great big grin all over my face just like Brick and Pan’s Labyrinth did. But right at the end this managed it.

God, where to begin? All six of the actors portraying Dylan were excellent with not a weak link among them. They all managed the difficult feat of finding a unique character within their respective roles that stood out from the rest, but at the same time one can see how one blurs into the next at the edges of the performance. Director Todd Haynes uses various techniques to keep the audience familiar with each different Dylan, be it colour coding, film stock, narrative style or general tone. He also manages the difficult task of keeping the film under control and cohesive. After all this isn’t a typical ensemble, multi-strand drama that seemed to have become very hip lately, this is focussing on one man at various points in his life and character.

I’m by no means an avid fan of Dylan, nor particularly informed on his life. I’ve got Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde and know bits about the electric and motorbike incidents, but that’s it really. However I think I knew enough to get a lot out of this film and the Richard Gere scenes didn’t jar with me as much as with some others. Overall, wow.

Lust, Caution
This film marks the third time I’ve been completely alone in a screening room and it’s always an odd experience. I certainly hope that more people round here manage to see it though, as it’s a bloody good film. Ang Lee takes his time building up the film’s plot and by the time the stakes are high and the action occurs we are deeply invested with these characters. It also gives him ample time to find room for some beautiful photography, bringing to life WW2 Shanghai and Hong Kong in such an evocative and vivid manner.

Performance-wise, the revelation for me was Tony Leung. I had never seen him play such a complete and utter bastard like this before. The man plays it as smooth as ever, but this time it’s all a calculated front that barely hides what’s going on beneath. Yes, he played a very callous and hurtful character in 2046 and he always conveys great emotional depth in his roles, but never before has he been this dark. Tightly wound and emotionally suppressed, his Mr Yee is by far the most dynamic character in the film. But newcomer Tang Wei doesn’t let her seasoned co-star overshadow her at all, pulling off a complicated and demanding role with apparent ease. Her final scene with the other members of her drama group is heart breaking. But then the focus swings back onto Mr Yee and his final scenes in his office and in the empty bedroom will stay with me for a while.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Why of why has this film been shafted around my local area? Out of ten cinemas it gets showed at just one, and even then a mere three times. I’d never seen the place so packed out. It’s such a shame, as this is a film that demands to be seen on the big screen, a TV just won’t be able to do it justice. Epic and languid, but never stretched out or boring, it’s a comfort to know that films like this can still be made today. Aside from the stunning landscapes on display, the lighting too was phenomenal, the train robbery scene being a stand out.

Having only seen Casey Affleck in the Ocean’s Eleven series, it was quite something to actually watch him live up to all of the praise he’s earned for this film. Jesse James’ name might be bigger in the title but as far as I’m concerned Casey played the lead, titular character. That’s not to take anything away from Brad Pitt though. His Jesse James exudes charisma and silent menace; it’s not hard to emphasise with those that fear him for all the right reasons. But Pitt also manages to convey the melancholy beneath this dangerous and arrogant veneer, most clearly in the assassination scene itself.

He also seems to be developing a great level of quality control as a producer, what with this and The Departed just over a year ago. I’ll be keen to see what he leads out from Plan B next.

No Country For Old Men
Now this would make Sam Peckinpah proud. In fact, along with Jesse James, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Brokeback Mountain and The Proposition, the western seems to be making a covert comeback lately (see also Kevin Costner’s Open Range from slightly further back).

Anyway, to get the one con out of the way right now, the second half of the film just didn’t manage to maintain the level of intensity that the first had. The turning point for me was after Moss and Anton have their first meeting. While the quality of the film didn’t go down I feel some of the forward thrust was lost. But that’s all I can against such a great film. The three leads are all excellent. Josh Brolin as the average guy who’s biggest mistake in the film was borne out of guilt and human compassion. Javiar Bardem is the hitman who would never, ever make a mistake for that reason. His unshakable belief in fate and twisted morals are his only potential weaknesses. And then there’s Tommy Lee Jones, a weary sheriff who feels weak against an increasingly violent world. Interestingly these three actors share very little screen time with one another and they never all share a scene.

The Coen’s took a risk in adapting someone else’s work, as this starting point is what led to their last two outings, arguably their weakest. But maybe it was just a case of finding the right source to work from. After all, O Brother Where Art Thou is hardly a wholly original story. Comparisons to Blood Simple and Fargo are valid based on the level of violence and characters all after the same stash of money, but it’s a disservice to the film to insinuate it’s a retread of earlier efforts or a return to tried and tested motifs. No Country For Old Men feels fresh yet appropriately worn, invigorating yet contemplative and just bloody good.
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:08 PM   #893
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Monkeyskin, your Lust Caution review makes me a very happy panda. Awesome.

Those final two shots really left my with a huge weight in my gut. Stunning work all throughout the last act really.
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:13 PM   #894
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As much as I loathed the character, Tony's actions and expressions in those final scenes actually made me feel for him. He's a man who sold his soul to the Devil and his country to foreign devils and has had to live an increasingly sheltered, paranoid and emotionless life for years, but "Mrs Mak" did far more damage to him than any resistance party ever could.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:43 PM   #895
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Cloverfield

8/10

This movie actually got better as it went along. I was really bummed at first to see it was shot entirely in that annoying hand-held herky-jerky style, but I think that's what made the movie stand out from other big-action, alien and/or monster, shit blows up movies. Seeing only what the camera saw gave it that extra jolt of terror.

I really dug it; I'd say it even exceeded my expectations. I even shrieked out loud a couple of times. Luckily, people were screaming on screen as well, so I think I was camoflouged.
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:15 PM   #896
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I rented "Curse of the Golden Flower" last night. It was pretty good. I loved the costuming and set design. The fighting I wish was more realistic. Not that I wanted more blood or gore, just I didn't particulary care for the slo-mo shots for the sake of being dramatic. But other than that, good film. Plus, Gong Li was great in this!

8 out of 10
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Old 01-20-2008, 05:12 PM   #897
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Cassandra's Dream (dir. Woody Allen)

I have to say I had high hopes for this one, which were only heightened by Lance's review yesterday. When I saw that McGregor & Farrell were acting in a film together, and from a Woody script, I was really excited. And from an acting standpoint, these guys definitely deliver the goods. Each character deals with the moral problem in question in his own way, and this continues after the main incident of the film, which I won't reveal here. Farrell continues to show what a wide range he has, this guy is just way too underrated.

The problem for me was really the resolution of the film, which left me wondering what the point was. Obviously, we're meant to attempt to identify with the hopes and dreams of the main characters, and their desperation in trying to achieve those ends. But I felt that the conclusion really didn't have the oomph that Match Point, for example, delivered.

And it's hard not to compare the two films, which are both somewhat sympathetic, or at least empathetic, portraits of ordinary people who find themselves committing extraordinary acts. And while the actors in this film were stronger, I felt the other one was tied up with a bit more profundity. Woody's direction continues to impress, and he is getting better and better at building tension and suspense.

What also bothered me was how some of the supporting characters are left hanging by the script, and their reactions at the end of the film would have benefitted it immensely. At this point, I'd like to get into SPOILER territory, which I realize will only benefit Lance:


S P O I L E R S ! ! !


Wouldn't it have been nice to see some reaction from the girlfriends, the family, at the end? I especially missed Tom Wilkinson, who really only serves as a device to pose the moral dilemma. I'm thinking maybe a short funeral shot, panning across the faces of the girls and the parents, who have no clue how this all happened (although Farrell's girlfriend might suspect), and then you stop on Wilkinson, who knows EXACTLY why they are all standing there, and is the reason for it as well. I don't wish to speak for Allen, but to me that would have been much more appropriate.

I also felt that the girl MacGregor was seeing at the beginning of the film was dropped a bit too quickly, and I would have liked some small comment from her about Ian's social climbing.

Lance, I highly suggest you get a hold of Match Point ASAP, as I think you'll enjoy it much more. And if you haven't seen Crimes & Misdemeanors, you'll want to put that VERY high on your to-see list. It's one of Woody's best, and the one that leaves you with more to think about than any other.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:54 AM   #898
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Has anyone seen the film '2 Days in Paris' (with Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg)?? I saw this at the cinema and love, love, loved it So funny ... had quite a poignant ending too.

Wouldn't mind seeing it again (if, for nothing else, to see AG with his t-shirt off )
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:39 AM   #899
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Unfortunately I missed that last year, but it's a high priority on my rental list. I hope the comparisons to Before Sunrise / Sunset are worthy.
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:48 PM   #900
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Paprika (dir. Satoshi Kon)

Once again, a Japanese filmmaker proves that, as sophisticated and talented as Brad Bird and some of the other Pixar directors and animators may be, what they are doing is still child's play when compared to their masters across the Pacific Ocean.

While Miyazaki is someone who appears wanting to beat Disney at their own game, creating imaginitive, thoughtful, and non-condescending stories for people of any age, Kon is a whole other thing altogether. Of all the anime that I've seen (and I'm far from an expert, referring here more to widely-released features), Kon's style approaches adult-themed live action the most in the way that it's directed and edited. There are moments where you almost forget it's animated. Also, they tend to be plots that are less-fantastical, and could easily have been done with live actors and sets; Perfect Blue a suspense thriller, Millenium Actress a pseudo-documentary through Japanese film history, and Tokyo Godfathers, essentially a remake of a minor John Ford film (think 3 Men & A Baby). This all changes with Paprika, which I couldn't imagine being done outside the world of animation, the closest thing being that Tarsem-directed Jennifer Lopez-starring The Cell.

With the exception of Godfathers, all of these Kon films deal a lot with the question of what is reality vs. what is fantasy. In each of them, there are scenes where you are really not sure if the action is happening in the characters' heads or not. Paprika takes it even further: The plot is that a new invention, The DC Mini, has been stolen from the labroratory where scientists are still working on it. The machine allows one to record their dreams and view them later, and also allows others to enter the dreams with the dreamer. The criminal that has taken the Mini has found a way to start inputting dreams into former users of the machine, without their consent. Atsuko, one of the scientists on the project, teams up with her coworkers, and a detective (who has been a Mini subject before himself) to track down the machine and the perpetrator. Atsuko's alter-ego inside the dreamworld is Paprika, a young sprite of a girl who seems to have much more control over navigating the bizarre surroundings than the others.

The visuals in this film are beyond description. Images constantly fold back in on themselves, melt into other images, etc. There's a lot of trickery going on, and I imagine it will take multiple viewings to fully notice and understand everything that's truly going on.

While not as emotionally involving as Millenium Actress, my favorite of his films, you really have to admire the ambition here. I really feel like Kon could take on any subject and do it justice. And while it doesn't raise as many intellectual questions as something like Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (another mindfuck of a film), it's an easier film to sit through.

Oh yeah, there's a lot of laughs too. I hope I didn't make it sound too serious. And there some very moving scenes when some of the characters are forced to confront their pasts.

If you appreciate animated films at all, you really owe it to yourself to check this out.
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