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Old 07-09-2009, 05:46 AM   #826
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No fucking way. I guess I found it somewhat cool, but it was also a bit of an incoherent mess, and not helped by the fact that we barely got to know any of the people involved--there really didn't feel like there was much at stake. By contrast, even when a minor character like Dennis Haysbert bites it in Heat, there's some weight to it. Plus, while PE's shootout may be unique because of the low lighting, it's not nearly as thrilling as seeing a daytime bank robbery spill out onto the streets of downtown Los Angeles, and how realistically such an event is choreographed and depicted.
Well, contrary to popular opinion, I don't think Mann's strengths have ever really been in action set-pieces or gunfights so it were. I applaud his perception of realism and detail, particularly in his sound work, but I never found that sequence in Heat particularly thrilling to begin with. I suppose my comment there might have been a bit deliberately inflammatory because of this. But I have to say I don't think that shoot-out carries much weight, if only because the pacing leading up to it isn't that strong. I don't think the stakes were addressed as strongly as they could have been , thus when the decision to pull the job was reached, I didn't feel the risk like I did leading up to Little Bohemia. It also helps we get that pivotal moment when the first arrive where Dillinger decides to leave the game so to speak. What it does best though is build on Purvis' recklessness and decaying moral core.

As for the Heat sequence I agree the concept is certainly more novel, but I prefer the execution in PE. I don't think it's particularly messy at all. I suppose there are a couple trajectories that branch out throughout the sequence, but I never felt the geography was unclear or lost track of who was who. Also, sure you never really get to know most of the minor characters, so there's no emotional investment, but I sort of felt the same away about the side characters in Heat at that point in the film too. I couldn't care less when Haysbert's character bites it. I don't think either sequence is much different in this regard. And I think PE here delivered on much of the promise of Mann's DV verite docu-style. He describes the film as like shooting in a warzone, and this is obviously the most explicit realization of that. Finally, whereas Heat's shoot-out is very professionally crafted, there's not much particularly evocative of it. Mann really transforms the landscape into something visually surreal and alien in Little Bohemia, and yeah the low light sources do add a lot, be it the mist rising off the river, Dillinger lighting up his oddly German-expressionist bedroom with muzzle flashes, or the night time car chase over the dark hilly roads.

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However, I doubt that scene with Dillinger in the police station is taken from actual history, and if it isn't, it comes off as a hell of a contrivance. And Mann is someone who seems rather detail oriented; it would be a shame if he had to resort to this kind of trick just to get a late rise of the audience, even if there's a thematic point being made. It's a bit of an eye-roller.
It's a thin line to walk I suppose. If you haven't really bought into the film by this point, I can see the perception of contrivance, but having invested into Mann's vision this came off very surreal and fragilely beautiful to me. It was as though Dillinger were walking through a different plane unnoticed, like a spirit suspended on those rays of light shining throughout the station. I felt it was an important moment for his character, looking over his gunned down allies and imprisoned lover before observing himself as though he were still out there unfettered and not standing there in that station. I'm not even entirely convinced that scene actually happened in the reality of the film.

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It should also be mentioned that Baby Face Nelson did not die at Little Bohemia, and was not only killed over six months later, but AFTER Dillinger's death. Same thing with Pretty Boy Floyd, who is shown being killed by Purvis at the BEGINNING of Public Enemies!! WTF? You can talk all you want about having to condense history, but that is just fucking sloppy.
I doubt it's "sloppy." As you said, someone so research-heavy and detail oriented as Michael Mann isn't going to overlook those historical facts. But really, I'm not sure 99% of the people who watch this are going to give a flying fuck when either of those characters actually died. He made clearly made a decision between honoring history faithfully and taking a few cases of artistic license for the sake of his characters and narrative. I don't mind in the least. And as I began to suggest with the last bit about the police station, I don't think the film concerns itself with reality as strongly as it might at first suggest, with much of the surrealism and especially with its explicit deconstruction with old Hollywood and cinematic symmetries.

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My point is that Public Enemies isn't even in the same ballpark as the majesty of Che, and not just because of Del Toro's brilliant performance. I understand that PE is meant to be a much more mainstream enterprise, but there is just so much more going on in Soderbergh's film, on every level. And if you can't see that, I don't know what to tell you.
Che was definitely on my mind during this film, as was Jesse James which was mentioned earlier as well. Firstly, I think you're wrong about PE as a mainstream enterprise, as least in its design. Obviously, it's been marketed and pushed there in a big way and has a lot typical mainstream trappings (which come with Mann's fascinations and the inherent genre materials within which Mann is experimenting), but so did Miami Vice. Point being, as I addressed in my review, PE has great wealths of depth and artistry, which pushed it above either of those films for me... among other things of course. But I know a lot of it didn't work for you, and I doubt I'm changing any of that. Oh well. You don't know what to tell me. Clearly, as you didn't really tell me anything on that last point. You could start with what exactly is "so much more going on" in CHE, so I'd know what more to address. I'm not being facetious either, but I really don't think we ever discussed the film in that sort of level originally so I'm genuinely curious. I think CHE's a fucking masterpiece as well, but I also think it was decidedly more narrow in focus, not to its detriment. But I'd suggest the films are perfectly comparable as works of art and given their similar conceits deserve to be.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:27 AM   #827
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I'm more excited to hear your review for Transformers 2, Lance.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:40 AM   #828
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There's really only thing on this earth that can approach the sheer chaos and terrifying exhilaration of Bayformers: Revenge of the Bay.

 
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:44 AM   #829
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There's really only thing on this earth that can approach the sheer chaos and terrifying exhilaration of Bayformers: Revenge of the Bay.

*Quoting the video breaks the forum*
Those are the first sounds you hear in Robot Heaven.

I'm still torn on my feelings of Public Enemies... I probably fall somewhere in-between you and Laz in terms of how I enjoyed the film. Like you, I loved it on an aesthetic level, but still have reservations on certain story elements and the performances of Depp and Bale.

If it hits the dollar theatre, I'd love to give it a second chance. If not, I'll wait 'til DVD. Plus, I've always enjoyed watching his films at home where I can sit and dissect what's going on in a more comfortable environment.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:52 AM   #830
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It's a shame they didn't get The Blum to voice Optimus Prime. Total wasted opportunity. And one they'll now never be able to correct.

It's also worth noting that unlike something like Jesse James, I think PE's aesthetics really stand out in how rooted they are from conception in a number of the film's thematic threads.
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:09 AM   #831
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It's a shame they didn't get The Blum to voice Optimus Prime. Total wasted opportunity. And one they'll now never be able to correct.

It's also worth noting that unlike something like Jesse James, I think PE's aesthetics really stand out in how rooted they are from conception in a number of the film's thematic threads.
The Blum still has a chance to be Unicron, so there's that.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:10 PM   #832
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So I watched some stuff recently:

Ed Wood
I think this might have actually been the last Tim Burton film I haven't seen. Ehh, I enjoyed it. Certainly not of the classic status I feel many have associated to it. Depp and Landau are pretty fantastic, and I always enjoy a good movie about Hollywood. Certainly don't like it as much as Pee-Wee's Big Adventure or Batman Returns, however.

Solyaris
Speaking of classics. Brilliant science fiction from one of the world's more visual filmmakers. Has there been a more beautifully structured sci-fi story than this? I kind of doubt it. That said, I'm not sure if this is my favorite of his work or not. But who can decide anyway? I'm glad I've done away with my 10-point rating scale, because I'd hate to have to nit-pick this one. It's just excellent.

Knowing
Roflcopters silhouetted by the setting sun. This is an intermittently intriguing, beautiful and thrilling movie (and I'm not just referring to Nic Cage's awesome hair), but it more frequently undercuts any dramatic or cinematic achievements with ridiculous lame moments or bone-headed lunacy. That said, it's surprisingly spooky in parts, which was kind of pleasant in a time where horror films are about as despicably awful as have ever been. But ultimately, I'd say pass on this one. There's nothing quite as unintentionally amusing as Will Smith getting pissed off at God Damn ROBOTS.


What's on the plate tonight... I downloaded a good copy of Revanche, an Austrian thriller that blew through theaters some time earlier this year, a film I've heard nothing but amazing things about. It looks fantastic. I also managed to get a hold of Antonioni's Red Desert. Which I've been dying to see for a while now. We'll see if I squeeze that one in too.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:48 AM   #833
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Solyaris
Speaking of classics. Brilliant science fiction from one of the world's more visual filmmakers. Has there been a more beautifully structured sci-fi story than this? I kind of doubt it. That said, I'm not sure if this is my favorite of his work or not. But who can decide anyway? I'm glad I've done away with my 10-point rating scale, because I'd hate to have to nit-pick this one. It's just excellent.

What's on the plate tonight... I downloaded a good copy of Revanche, an Austrian thriller that blew through theaters some time earlier this year, a film I've heard nothing but amazing things about. It looks fantastic. I also managed to get a hold of Antonioni's Red Desert. Which I've been dying to see for a while now. We'll see if I squeeze that one in too.
Solaris is a great film, but possibly my least favorite Tarkovsky. And that says a lot about the quality of that guy's work.

Red Desert = all kinds of amazing. Don't know if you've seen any Antonioni before, but it might very well be his best.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:55 AM   #834
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I've seen some Antonioni, you might remember me raving all over The Passenger a while back. L'Avventura and L'Eclisse I've also seen, as well as his Eros short and parts of The Night.
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:23 PM   #835
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I saw ten mins of Twin Peaks Come Walk With Me last night, in was on TV, and honestly, Ive never watched this movie in its entirety, but for what I saw, I wish to fuk I was totally stoned.
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:49 AM   #836
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Funny People

Friend of mine took me to see an advance screening, and Judd Apatow talked and answered questions for a good length of time afterwards.

Movie is more serious than his last two in terms of subject matter, but the vulgarity has not been diminished in the slightest. Raunchy, raunchy humor. Maybe even moreso than the others. I was laughing so hard I was missing jokes. No shit.

Sandler was fantastic. He's already proven himself to be capable of something heavier before, but he's also able to play to his juvenile strengths as well. Leslie Mann, beautiful, funny, and moving as always. Rogen doesn't have as interesting a role, but does have a handful of great jokes.

Yeah it could have been shorter, and 2.5 hours is long for a comedy. But I really didn't want it to end, and it's not told in a conventional fashion. Keeps you guessing.

Apatow was just as funny after the movie. Very revealing about the process.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:09 AM   #837
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This movie has me curious. In many ways it sounds like it could be a genuinely interesting film for Apatow. I wonder if you think he's evolved any as a director or if it's essentially the same as his last couple.

Personally, I haven't really been impressed by his work. I think 40YOV is a very funny movie though, and get major points for surviving multiple viewings rather well, although I think a lot of the conventional storytelling gets really old rather quickly. Knocked Up didn't even survive a single rewatch for me. I thought it was enjoyable the first time around, but suffered even more from dragging dramatic threads. Seeing it again, urrgh. Awful. So much I hate about that one.

And yeah, I do think both of those movies are far too long, and it's just a matter of length, but a matter of them being long because of really ineffective drama that overstays its welcome. I have a lot of reservations about Funny People, and wasn't even planning on seeing it at all initially. But it does seem to be doing some interesting things from what I've seen. Grabbing Kaminski for DP is certainly a step in the right direction.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:23 PM   #838
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Well it certainly looks better due to Kaminski, but I would also say there's a definite evolution in blocking, transitions, montages, etc. Composition doesn't really stand out but there's still some nice verite stuff going on.
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:26 PM   #839
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How much are Raaaaaaaandy, Schwartzman, and Jonah Hill in it?
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Old 07-17-2009, 01:44 PM   #840
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A decent amount. Schwartzman is really great.
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