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Old 12-29-2016, 01:53 AM   #81
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So, has anyone seen Manchester By The Sea?

I thought it was great. I mean, if you're into that type of film. Which is to say, it's like a Bergman-esque character study about a guy carrying unimaginable grief and unimaginable guilt around(except with sporadic levity that probably wouldn't be present in a Bergman film). Heavy, depressing stuff.

The plot is thin, by design. It's not a film about about plot. It's a film about pain and loss and human misery and how these characters react to it.

Three things that stood out to me:

The acting. Casey Affleck is already getting Oscar buzz. I wouldn't really have thought of him in a role like this, but I think he was great. He played it in an understated and raw way, without going OTT, which I thought was very effective. More like how it would be IRL. Apparently Matt Damon was originally supposed to play the role, but I have to say, as great as he is, I think Affleck was better for the role.

Michelle Williams continues to be one of her generation's finest actresses, imo. She's only in like 20 minutes total of the film, but she pretty much owns every scene she's in. Particularly the last one.

Lucas Hedges is good as the kid/nephew too. Again, given the circumstances you might expect some kind of big breakdown at some point, and he does kind of have one, but for the most part his pain and sense of loss is internalized, as it sometimes is IRL.

Kyle Chandler is also good as the deceased brother in the flashbacks. He seems to have a knack for these family-backbone type roles.

Second thing, the cinematography. It's a really nice-looking film. The scenery is beautiful already, in a bleak kid of way, and the way it's captured really matches the equally bleak mood of the film and its characters.

Third thing, the score. I thought it was extremely affecting and, again, very much in tune with the somber mood of the film and the emotions of the characters. Kind of minimalist in my recollection, but again, that fit with the understated, subtle acting.

My only critiques would be that I thought the Gretchen Mol character - the kid's mother - was under-developed, and that I didn't really see the point of the kid having two girlfriends(especially since the first one kind of disappeared halfway through), but those are relatively minor quibbles.

I thought it was really well-done. But it's not for everyone. There are people will see it and think it's boring or that nothing happens or that it moves way too slow or that it's too depressing or too realistic or not entertaining enough or that there should have been more overt displays of emotion, etc etc. But if you like well-acted, well-shot, well-written slow-moving bleak depressing-as-shit emotionally-affecting character studies, you'll probably like this.
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Old 12-29-2016, 02:31 AM   #82
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Manchester is my next trip to the theater


On a grim note. According to my supermarket tabloid Val Kilmer is close to kicking the can from cancer.


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Old 12-29-2016, 03:01 AM   #83
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I enjoyed Manchester for the most part. Moving, sad, but also funnier than one would expect.

Having said that, I think it's a considerable step down from Lonergan's Margaret (even the theatrical cut), which I thought was transcendent; better written and directed, with a more impressive ensemble as well.

A shame that film didn't get the awards attention this one did.
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:49 AM   #84
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Haven't seen it yet, but intend to. Lived in Gloucester for 8 years from 1998-2006, so the locale alone is enough for me to see it, but also looks like a decent film regardless of the setting.
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:45 PM   #85
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I took advantage of having this week off to catch up with a bunch of stuff, and ended up seeing 3 of my 4 favorite films of the year:

Toni Erdmann was a riot, extremely funny while still quite touching. It contains one of my favorite scenes of the year - the team-building exercise - and will forever change the way I see petit fours. The two leading performances are basically flawless, portraying fully fleshed out characters that are given plenty of time to evolve on the screen. The film treats heavy subjects such as loneliness, sexism in the workplace, or the effects of globalization in a deft way, never being preachy or offering cookie-cutter answers. Strongly recommended.

The Handmaiden is spectacularly crafted, possibly the best directed movie of the year, with an entrancing script, great lead performances, and incredible photography (helped by some beautiful sets). I feel I’ve overlooked Park Chan-wook for far too long, and will now correct it. He’s really masterful here, with a level of detail that is unparalleled this year. I’m very fond of the narrative structure he uses, centered consecutively on each of the three main characters, whose point of view changes our understanding of each and every scene in the main story.

La La Land has been surprisingly divisive, but I’m fully sold. A lovely homage to classical musicals, and to art itself, it benefits from abundant chemistry from its two leads, a vibrant direction that brings out the best in them, and simplicity that is often lacking in today’s musicals. The final sequence is just magic, possibly my favorite sequence in quite some time.

I also saw Silence on previews earlier this week, and I’m not quite sure what to think of it. The movie itself is excellent, but Scorsese puts us through quite an arduous experience while watching it. I think Silence is particularly good in how it approaches some of the old religious/philosophical questions that Scorsese has addressed in the past. It’s non-judgmental and non-explanatory, approaching the subject matter more as an ethnographer than as a storyteller, and letting the viewer draw its own conclusions. Yet another memorable final scene, of which there are quite a few this year.

I haven’t seen Paterson, Julieta, or Manchester By The Sea (and some other stuff) yet, but at this point I feel my top-4 is pretty firm.

1. Moonlight
2. Toni Erdmann
3. The Handmaiden
4. La La Land
5. Personal Shopper
6. My Golden Days (I guess this is a 2016 release)
7. Graduation
8. Elle
9. Arrival
10. The Lobster

I’m not sure if Silence counts as a 2016 release, but I would put it somewhere around 6-8 on this list.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:42 PM   #86
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Haven't seen Silence yet but agreed on the others, all three will likely be in my Top 10 this year.

More later when I have time...
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Old 12-30-2016, 12:21 AM   #87
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Looking forward to it, Laz.

Something else I forgot to post: Passengers is by far the worst movie I saw this year, and in recent memory.


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Old 12-30-2016, 12:23 AM   #88
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Sausage Party for me. I love sleazy, irreverent humor but that was just painfully unfunny, preachy dreck.

Suicide Squad may have been worse, but that no pretensions to be anything beyond a dumb DC comic book movie. There were no shoddy allegories or proselytizing to put a damper on the tasteless nonsense.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:05 PM   #89
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Yeah, Sausage Party was a big letdown. I think I legit laughed once, and I've already forgotten what joke it was.

Saw Dr. Strange on Christmas Day, and that was super fun. Amazing visuals.

Seeing Arrival and La La Land back to back on Sunday. Whee!
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:18 PM   #90
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Random Movie Talk XV: You Asked For It, Cobbler

Saw Manchester this morning, which I liked a great deal but not as much as some of the movies I talked about earlier. I would probably place it in the back of my top 10 on the strength of its script and lead performance. I want to see Margaret now based on Laz's praise.


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Old 12-30-2016, 10:13 PM   #91
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Manchester is forgettable and overrated.
Margaret is very very good.
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Old 12-30-2016, 10:34 PM   #92
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Speak for yourself. I'll not be forgetting it for a long time.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:48 PM   #93
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Margaret is boring. Will never watch another film by him.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:58 PM   #94
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Margaret is boring. Will never watch another film by him.
Don't really understand completely dismissing a director(or actor or whatever) because one didn't like one piece of work.
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Old 12-31-2016, 12:08 AM   #95
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I don't meant it. Probably. But then life is short.
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Old 12-31-2016, 04:20 PM   #96
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Random Movie Talk XV: You Asked For It, Cobbler

Gaaahhhh Arrival was so good. As a language nerd with years of linguistics study under his belt, I could not have asked for a better sci-fi conceit.

Nice to see Amy Adams get some decent material for the first time in ages. Very empathetic performance. Enough with the Lois Lane sleepwalking.
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Old 12-31-2016, 05:21 PM   #97
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Loved that movie so very much. So refreshing for the genre.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:16 PM   #98
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I saw Fences today, and while not familiar with the original play, I found this to be very powerful. Moreso than Manchester By The Sea. Both are fairly stripped down and in service of their words, this one just resonated for me a little more.

Washington and Affleck's characters and performances couldn't be further apart, and while I can appreciate minimalist acting and inner turmoil, Washington just towers over everyone else this year IMO. He has a lot of opportunity to do some thespian grandstanding, but he still portrays a full, layered character. There are big, loud moments but also smaller, quiet ones and he's brilliant at both.

He obviously had the benefit of playing the same role on the stage, for which he won a Tony, but taken on its own as a performance for the camera, I still find it to be about as good as acting gets.

Viola Davis and the rest of the cast aren't far behind.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:27 PM   #99
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Gaaahhhh Arrival was so good. As a language nerd with years of linguistics study under his belt, I could not have asked for a better sci-fi conceit.

Nice to see Amy Adams get some decent material for the first time in ages. Very empathetic performance. Enough with the Lois Lane sleepwalking.

Totally agree. I liked everything about it - the mood, the story, the visuals. Amy Adams was great, and she was also fantastic in Nocturnal Animals (another very good movie, by the way, much better than Ford's earlier work).


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Old 12-31-2016, 09:55 PM   #100
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I will bang out every Oscar nominated best picture as a matter of principle.

NFL-Weddings-Christmas Eve robbing my movie time. Usually I hit 3 Oscar contenders at a time on a lazy Saturday with one ticket.

We should do a pool when Academy awards time come around. Maybe through public polls.

In the sphere of potential nominees I have seen Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge.

Sully is well done...some noms possible. Snowden underrated, expecting nothing. Best Oliver Stone movie since Any Given Sunday.


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