Re: Last movie you watched


. . . huh.

The moon landing sequence by itself is gorgeous, though that was a given going in. The rest . . . I'm not really a fan of Ryan Gosling outside of The Nice Guys, and he was just straight sleepwalking through this. I can't particularly blame him—the screenplay drastically underwrites every single character, and he gets the worst of it. His Neil Armstrong is basically an empty shell, a protagonist whose self I couldn't tell you a single thing about. Claire Foy does her best with a similarly empty role and gets better results, but she can't overcome the fact that there's no emotional throughline here. Though the screenplay certainly seems to think there is—tries to make us think toward the end that the whole movie has been about Armstrong's grief for his dead daughter and the whole thing is so blatantly manipulative I had to roll my eyes.

Also meh on the filmmaking itself. This movie seems to take all the wrong lessons from Dunkirk, a film that I love—it's so focused on trying to communicate the visceral experience of space travel that it overplays its hand to an insane degree. Whole sequences are basically just collections of shaky closeups, to the point that it's impossible to tell what's going on. And the sound mix is absolutely obnoxious—maybe I'm just getting too old for this, but the monotonous shriek of everything was just an irritant rather than immersive in any way. Chazelle is so focused on trying to pound an EXPERIENCE into you that he ends up managing to evoke nothing at all.

The film stock was pretty, anyway—very nice grain.

I dunno, I'm being too hard on it—I can't say it's a bad film, just a thoroughly mediocre one with some cool moments. Half of it is trying and failing to be a Christopher Nolan film, and the other half is trying and failing to be the off-kilter arthouse biopic that Jackie was but with an absolutely by-the-numbers script, and it just doesn't gel.

For better or worse, Whiplash is still Chazelle's best movie. It's kind of adolescent but doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is, an exercise in ratcheting up tension with broad character beats that are redeemed by the performers. La La Land is gorgeous visually but absolutely lifeless, and First Man is that same melody in a different key. (Had to slip a musical thing in there somewhere.)

Last edited by Abbie (2018-10-13 05:23:37)


Re: Last movie you watched

Unfortunate, but reminds me that I've got to watch Apollo 11 VR, not that I expect emotional drama out of it (it's documentary more than drama) but at least it'll, as you say, communicate that visceral experience better.

Heck, I recently heard Public Service Broadcasting's "Go!" and that got me going.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.


Re: Last movie you watched

That's worrisome, 'cause I had pretty high expectations for First Man.

While the "conveying an experience" thing usually works for me in Kubrick movies, I didn't like Dunkirk very much. It's impressive on some levels (especially considering the moderate budget), but it was hard to connect with it. Nolan tried way too hard to be Kubrick and I like Nolan when he's Nolan.

We all float down here...

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Re: Last movie you watched

I just saw First Man in a Dolby Theater and holy heck was that the only way you should see it. The NOISE!


Re: Last movie you watched

Yeah, I also just saw FIRST MAN, and that opening X-15 sequence is ear-splitting. I swear I heard squealing pigs in the sound design. It was visceral as Darth says. It's probably the most appropriate use of shaky-cam I've ever seen, and I normally love the smooth Fincher/Cuarón style.

Yeah, Armstrong was notoriously private/shy/introverted. A closed-book. And a lot of those Right Stuff era astronauts were a little bit on the spectrum. So Gosling's understated performance worked well. No high-fiving 'need for speed' swagger here.

Just like the Darwin biopic, CREATION, it risked swamping the interesting story with a father-dead daughter subplot.

The movie is not a conventional narrative - more a series of vignettes. The Gemini 8 launch was all POV from inside the cockpit. Hardly any glory/money shoots in the entire movie, which is an odd choice i.e. the director chooses to keep the focus on Armstrong, yet doesn't give him much to emote to. He just bottles everything up, or shrugs off big news like the announcement he'll be leading #11 (received as he's washing his hands). He could have just been told he's got to empty the bins before knocking off for the shift - same reaction.

The moon descent sequence was great with the fuel gauge, looming crater, boulder-field, alarms, etc. Talk about keeping your cool. Balls of steel. What a heroic age. Just what's needed in Trump era.

P.S. And you DO see an American flag on the surface. Conservatives should shut the fuck up about their 'not enough flag' whinging. This is a movie that should appeal to both sides. Can't believe even this has to be politicised. I suppose if there had been an extended sequence of flag-planting in slow-mo with saluting and swelling music and rubbing out a load over it, then the left would be complaining about fascistic hyper-patriotism. It's not that kind of movie.

And just like that...

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Re: Last movie you watched

avatar wrote:

And a lot of those Right Stuff era astronauts were a little bit on the spectrum.

Who are you thinking of?

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Last movie you watched


What a mess...

Venom feels like a B-movie. No, not like a post-Alien monster flick that uses B-movie tropes very well (The Thing, The Fly etc.); like an actual B-movie from the double feature era - a quick, low-budget sci-fi schlock nobody cares about. Clearly nobody cared about Venom's script; it has no identity of its own. It could have been a Deadpool-esque dark comedy about demonic possession or schizophrenia, but it looks like someone (the studio?) insisted on making it more of a generic comic book movie about saving the world. The result is a confused hybrid not unlike Venom himself. Tom Hardy's performance stands out, but that's not unusual - he's always good, even in crappy movies (his Shinzon makes Nemesis almost bearable).

You're not gonna miss anything by skipping it.

We all float down here...

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Re: Last movie you watched


"orson welles has the biggest dick of them all. it's insaen" —Willow Catelyn Maclay

Seriously underrated this on my first watch a couple of years ago. Welles' performance as Falstaff is fucking unreal—he's great in a lot of other movies, but even his best performances tend to be "Orson Welles with [x] veneer." Not so here—he is Falstaff, the Platonic ideal of the character. And the central Battle of Shrewsbury remains breathtaking over fifty years later—the editorial feat of making less than 200 extras appear to be armies of thousands is just . . . God, what do you even say?

Also, I feel like this film is probably definitive evidence that no movie should be longer than two hours (I say as someone who loves quite a few three-hour movies). Orson Welles folded both parts of Henry IV and bits and pieces of three other plays into one two-hour movie and in doing so made one of the best Shakespeare films ever. Bad Times at the El Royale had to be 140 minutes why, exactly?