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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b0/9f/86/b09f865f5411b4e785997cc8b552372c.jpg

. . . 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)

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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.

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

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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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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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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/05/Venom_poster.jpg

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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https://samuelrookeblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/cta_1123_original.jpg?w=274&h=406

"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?

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The meet-cute first act is sooo good, but after that it dives into a heap of cliches, trading in potential greatness for competence. Still, a lot to like here, especially in the performances—Sam Elliott's impact in just a few minutes of screentime should be enough to get him the supporting Oscar, and Cooper and Gaga are both excellent.

The songs are a pretty mixed bag—after months of hoping this wouldn't be the next La La Land, sigh—but Gaga's voice is a punch to the throat. If nothing else, take three minutes out of your day and listen to her performance of "La Vie en Rose"—it's her first number in the movie, and god damn.

Last edited by Abbie (2018-10-24 20:20:57)

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Damn.

Fucking revelatory in the context of the period—if this had been released in 1976 as Welles intended, it would have broken people's brains. The documentary/found-footage conceit is already like nothing else from that time, but throw in an editing style that's most accurately described as F for Fake on steroids and it becomes unreal. The film-within-a-film, even though it's designed to poke fun at the New Wave, is unbelievably pretty—for someone who insisted on shooting on black-and-white for the majority of his career, Welles is a master of color.

In terms of content, I want to take time (and rewatches) to digest, but it's far and away Welles' funniest movie. He's taking shots at everyone, including himself, and refuses to let up for nearly two hours. Huston is, of course, fantastic, but Bogdanovich is maybe even better, and the two characters' relationship is even more poignant if you're familiar with the relationship Bogdanovich and Welles shared.

Of course, we'll never truly know what Welles' definitive version of the film would have been, and the bits and pieces that remind us of this are a bit jarring—Bogdanovich had to rewrite the opening narration, as Welles never recorded it, and its casual mention of cell phone cameras is so fucking weird. But in a way that's the perfect capstone to the man's career—his filmography is a collection of ghosts, movies that were robbed of their definitive versions or made on shoestring budgets or simply thrown away. In any case, I'm comfortable with calling it one of my favorites of his, and I suspect my appreciation will only grow upon further viewings.

Got to fly out to San Francisco and see it on a theatre screen, which I'll be eternally grateful for. It just felt right (she said, the pretentious ass). Pairs very well with the bummer of a companion documentary They'll Love Me When I'm Dead, which is also on Netflix and examines all the rotten luck that prevented Welles from finishing the film while he was alive.

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I've been meaning to check out Welles movies, I hear he's quite good. I did get A Touch Of Evil on Blu Ray for Christmas shortly before putting my film collection into storage.

Extended Edition - 141 Doctor Who, Medicine Woman
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Touch of Evil is excellent--since you have the Blu, make sure you do the cut that was reconstructed according to his wishes (restores a lot of stuff the studio trimmed for very arbitrary reasons). Kane is, of course, Kane, and Chimes at Midnight and F for Fake are masterpieces too.

Basically every single one of his movies is worth seeing--even Mr. Arkadin and The Immortal Story, which are my least favorites, have some gorgeous cinematography, and The Magnificent Ambersons, while it was savaged within an inch of its life by RKO, still has remnants of greatness.

Last edited by Abbie (2018-11-05 17:47:33)

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Didn't log this the day I saw it, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. Dearly hope it's not the Coens' last movie, but it feels like if it were it would be totally fitting. Each of the six segments seems to serve as commentary on a different facet of their career, and more than ever the brothers seem to be actively engaging the critics who claim there's nothing more to them but cruelty. Not that there aren't plenty of moments of cruelty in the movie, mind—some of them slapstick, some of them crushing—but that's not anything projected onto the world by the Coens. That's just the world, like it or not.

Delbonnel's photography is gorgeous—it's the Coens' first movie shot on digital, and while at some points it can get a bit plasticky the colors and landscapes are awe-inspiring. (Caught it at a local theatre, where Netflix allowed it to play, and am very glad I did.) And Burwell's score is as masterly as ever; he might be the most underappreciated film composer we've got working.

Ranking their films has been a meme passing around film Twitter as of late, so I'll do it seriously here just 'cuz (save for Intolerable Cruelty, which I've yet to see). Apart from The Ladykillers and to a lesser extent The Hudsucker Proxy, they've yet to make a bad movie, and have made at least 11 truly great ones. Helluva batting average.

SPOILER Show
1. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. True Grit
3. The Big Lebowski
4. Miller's Crossing
5. No Country for Old Men
6. Burn After Reading
7. Fargo
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
9. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
10. A Serious Man
11. Barton Fink
12. The Man Who Wasn't There
13. Hail, Caesar!
14. Raising Arizona
15. Blood Simple
16. The Hudsucker Proxy
17. The Ladykillers

Last edited by Abbie (Yesterday 05:10:01)