Re: Last movie you watched

https://cdn.flickeringmyth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Jim-Andy-The-Great-Beyond-600x890.jpg

This is fucking harrowing. Carrey himself seems to think it's an ultimately uplifting look at a quirky-but-endearing film shoot when it's actually a glimpse of the living hell he put everyone else in the cast and crew through in his attempt to channel Kaufman's "spirit." There's several moments where he's interacting in-character with Kaufman's real family members and it's so fucking upsetting. The emotional manipulation involved just gives me the shivers.

Don't get me wrong, this is a fascinating movie, it's just also pretty repugnant in many ways. Definitely up there for one of the more visceral reactions to a film I've had in 2017.

Re: Last movie you watched

I honestly didn't think Carey was even acting any more. I wonder how much of what you're talking about has to do with Carey's whole "everyone is a character, and I'm no longer Jim Carey the character" self realization thing he's got going on these days.

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Great post, Prax.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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BigDamnArtist wrote:

I honestly didn't think Carey was even acting any more. I wonder how much of what you're talking about has to do with Carey's whole "everyone is a character, and I'm no longer Jim Carey the character" self realization thing he's got going on these days.

He does seem to view Man on the Moon as a turning point in his interviews for the movie—talks about how it was "liberating" for him to escape being himself for a while and then goes on this rant about how you can't really know anyone, man. Which is also pretty hilarious as he simultaneously claims that he knew Kaufman so well that he was literally possessed by him.

Teague wrote:

Great post, Prax.

Thx, just had to vent a little. The more I think about it the more this movie is an intensely interesting artifact but also the more it makes me really angry. I wouldn't even know where to begin in answering the question of whether it's "good" or not (though if it is it's certainly good in a way Carrey didn't intend).

Last edited by DarthPraxus (2017-11-21 15:22:51)

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WTF, Luc Besson? WTF?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/07/Valerian_and_the_City_of_a_Thousand_Planets.jpg

The title sequence is promising.

SPOILER Show
We get a Watchmen-esque depiction of the International Space Station's evolution through the ages. The various astronaut teams conform to the most obvious ethnic stereotypes, but the other aspects of this opening work fine.

It only gets worse from here.

SPOILER Show
After the first glimpse at the idyllic pearl-farming society I already started suspecting that they're a Ba'ku/Na'vi-type race wronged by some evil humans. Those suspicions turned out to be correct, but I had to sit through a whole bunch of convoluted set pieces to get to that point. While those set pieces look very impressive, they feel like separate episodes barely related to the main plot.

Valerian and Laureline's introduction is full of clumsy "as you know" dialogue. When they enter the city they both live in, we get an even clumsier piece of exposition as the computer tells them everything about that city. It's supposed to house thousands of species, but very few of them are utilized in the movie (I'll get to them in a moment).

Speaking of the two main characters... They're just not very interesting. Dane DeHaan is terribly miscast; he looks like a strung-out junkie, not a badass space agent. Cara Delevingne isn't any more compelling. These characters needed charismatic actors with chemistry between them.

Rihanna seemed somewhat likable as the PG-13-rated erotic dancer just because she's an abused refugee, but her only role is to serve Valerian and then be killed off, which evokes the stereotype of a disposable sex worker.

Members of the alien race that abducted Laureline are just as disposable and just as stereotypical. Apparently they're less intelligent than human and have a primitive tribal society, so they can be killed like insects - a very unfortunate throwback to the European colonial attitude that will offend any Trekkie's humanitarian ("touchy-feely", as Uncle Trey once put it wink ) sensibility. They're treated worse than the Gungans in TPM. This might've been an intentional reference to old sci-fi/fantasy (the original comic book is 50 years old), but it just doesn't play very well in 2017.

Just like Avatar, Valerian felt like a passion project that the director had in mind for decades and, when finally given the chance to film it, couldn't bring himself to kill his darlings. What we got is a badly constructed plot with amazing eye candy. A writer with less attachment to the source material could've probably delivered a tight script instead of this mess, but, just like George Lucas and Jim Cameron, Luc Besson made the fatal mistake of writing it himself.

(I know it feels like another incoherent litany of random complaints from Marty, but I just can't help myself. This dud is another wasted opportunity for a great space adventure and it pisses me off.)

We all float down here...

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I strongly disagree.
I had zero experience with the books, and I loved the film. It was something different; refreshing.

That being said, Dane DeHaan is terribly miscast. Cara Delevigne was fine, but Dane? no. I'm not sure who they could cast if they're going for that "young/hip" thing. Maybe Andrew Garfield?

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I kinda liked that he looked like he'd been hit with a bat a few times. I dunno. Just liked that he doesn't look like your typical choice.

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no, he's absolutely not the stereotypical Hollywood action hero, which may be why they went with him in the first place, I just didn't feel like he honed the part. Again, Cara was fine. I like her, and I liked Dane in Chronicle, as well as his interpretation of Harry Osborne.

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Re: Last movie you watched

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/o8gZQLMFZeM/maxresdefault.jpg

Pleased to say I ended my run through Carpenter's major works on a high note. Besides The Thing and The Descent, this is probably the closest a movie has come to nailing Lovecraft, but it's not a mere pastiche—the final scene is a cinematic twist on its source material that's wholly Carpenter's. It's definitely a movie of its time, not in terms of its effects or cinematography (which mostly hold up—this is a much better-looking movie than, say, Prince of Darkness) but the fact that it took place when the Horror Boom of 80s literature was still being felt. Sutter Cane's aesthetic owes a lot to Stephen King's 80s Scribner art style, but it's more than that—the idea that horror literature could conceivably be the best-selling in the world is one that basically only existed during the 80s and early 90s. King is still insanely popular, but his day as reigning author is long gone, and it's kind of inconceivable that a horror author could have similar popular dominace in our current YA-driven day and age.

The Thing remains Carpenter's only masterpiece IMO, but this one, Escape from New York, and Big Trouble in Little China are all worthwhile. And while he's often pigeonholed as a horror director, every single film of those four is wildly different from the others—an SF body-horror remake, a metafictional Lovecraft odyssey, a camp fusion of Mad Max and Blade Runner, and a martial-arts fantasy comedy, all from the same guy within the span of twelve years? That's pretty diverse if you ask me.

Last edited by DarthPraxus (2017-12-19 20:14:58)

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http://www.pinkfive.com/images/downsizingposter.jpg

It's screener season which means suddenly finding out about movies I didn't know existed, like this one. Although it's not being released until the end of this week, so I sort of have an excuse.

This movie gave me another opportunity to remember that Alexander Payne is a director I really like, because I keep forgetting I really like him.  Every movie he makes goes somewhere other than you think it'll go, which I'm sure is hell for the marketing folks.  Often his movies have no easily defined structure, no clear ending and no "moral", which you would think would trigger the "why did you tell me this story?" response. 

Judging from the reviews, many people DO object to Downsizing's quirky anti-plot and I don't blame them, because usually I'm one of those people too.  Setups and payoffs? Fuggedaboutit.  Seemingly major characters are established early on who then disappear and NEVER FREAKIN' COME BACK, in violation of every screenwriting "rule" known to mankind.  If William Goldman sees this flick, I hope he brings his medication.

And yet, Payne you magnificent bastard, you made me okay with all of it. Again.

The film starts like you think it does - there's a new technology where people can be shrunk to five inches tall, which is promoted as a way for humanity to use less of Earth's resources while maintaining a luxurious lifestyle.  More luxurious in fact, because your full-scale dollars go further when you only consume a fraction of what you did before. (Neil Patrick Harris fans get a treat here, in a sales pitch scene.) 

So it's a movie about consumer culture, then? Not really.   So it's a movie about the global socioeconomic repercussions of this technology? A little, but again not really.  Is it a movie about the sci-fi aspects of life on a small scale - different physics and so on?  Not at all, except for one visual joke at the very end which is pretty hilarious. 

So what is it about? Well, Matt Damon does things and meets people and things happen and then the movie ends and for reasons I cannot begin to explain, I loved it.  The strange alchemy of this movie means I can't "recommend" it, because don't know why I like it, much less why you should.

Okay, I can give one reason and that's Damon's co-star Hong Chau, who's been in lots of things I haven't seen so she was new to me.  I adored her.  I think she has a good shot at a supporting Oscar here.

*Strange side note  - I looked up Chau on IMDB and was stunned to find out she was in the infamous Trenches - the web series made years ago by fanfilm guy Shane Felux.  So let that be a lesson to everyone - you never know who's gonna make it in showbiz based on where they start.

Anyway, I dunno what else to tell you about this strange little hot mess of a movie.  If you liked Payne's other works, or you just like watching Matt Damon be bewildered a lot, you might like this.

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I remember seeing a trailer for it before Thor: Ragnarok. Looked like a good movie; not my genre, but good. You talking about the director makes me wonder if it's at all what the trailer makes it out to be - his wife ends up not joining him (it's not reversible), he's depressed because it turns out the downsized world is full of the same douchebags that the regular one is, and he goes on one of those "soul searching to less privileged country" trips (of course, all within this Downsized world, however big it is) - maybe people who had done so because they had no other financial choice, or maybe were put through it against their will because they were a burden on whatever country or society (not killing them, so it's humane!). And in helping those with real problems, he finds fulfillment and a sense of self?

I start guessing towards the end there, but - looked like a solid application of sci-fi into what the rest of the world would consider a worthwhile drama plot. Cool to hear that, whatever it is, it holds up.

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Well now you've made me grateful I never saw a trailer - I just said, hmm, what's this movie? and put it in the DVD player. smile   

Because of course all the things you describe are in there, but I never would have guessed any of it before it happened.  Which in this case was especially great, because if you were to try to guess the last ten minutes of the movie after seeing the first ten, you would be very unlikely to think "I bet this movie ends with

Definitely do not click if you plan to see this movie Show
Matt Damon and a one-legged Vietnamese cleaning lady on a toy boat in a Norwegian fjord waiting for the end of the world.

Seriously, come back and open that spoiler after seeing the movie and marvel at the randomly batshit directions Payne went with the original premise. smile 

Or rather, how he mostly ignored the original premise, because now that I think about it, 95% of the story could have been the same without the shrinking aspect at all.

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I kinda have to watch downsizing. It was shot HERE.

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If nothing else, it does make good use of your scenery.

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I think I saw the trailer running on a TV at a restaurant and went "Well that that looks like a lame "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" meets a feelsy book-your-mom-would-read adaptation clusterfuck. That's 100% something I will never be seeing."

Apparently I'm gonna have to check it out now. DammitTrey.gif

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Trey wrote:

I looked up Chau on IMDB and was stunned to find out she was in the infamous Trenches - the web series made years ago by fanfilm guy Shane Felux.  So let that be a lesson to everyone - you never know who's gonna make it in showbiz based on where they start.

What was Trenches and why was it so infamous??

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Faldor wrote:

What was Trenches and why was it so infamous??

Paging Teague Chrystie.  Teague Chrystie to the thread please.  smile

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Mannnnn.

Trenches is infamous generally because it was a great big opportunity being blown, slowly, in a dumb big way.

It's infamous for us because it involved a filmmaker we somewhat knew, and a pattern we had come to expect.

...

Hm. I wrote a post that goes into more detail, but I'd rather not post it. If you're curious, reply saying so, or shoot me a PM — I'll send it as a message. (Trey and Faldor, I've PM'd each of you a copy on spec. tongue)

Teague Chrystie

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I'm interested

Edit: Damn

Last edited by Writhyn (2017-12-21 23:09:05)

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Valerian. At the start we didn't buy any chemistry between the leads. At the end I said I'd buy it if it was on sale.

Aside from that, it leans pretty heavily on bad exposition and, "We need to ha r the main character say something, so let's give them a useless line of dialogue." Even secondary characters - if someone is disarming a bomb, do you think that yelling, "Hurry!" is the best use of dialogue?

Past that, I enjoyed the story itself and presentation was top notch. Great background pretty lights while doing something else viewing.

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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I was really hyped for Valerian when it was first announced. I've always enjoyed the fifth element and Adele Blanc-Sec a French-language film that Luc Besson made a few years back about an Edwardian adventuress.

However, when the film came out I didn't have a lot of spare cash for cinema trips and the tidal wave of negative reviews did not encourage me but I watched it last week with my wife and it was definitely nowhere near as bad as the reviews made out. Whilst it wasn't particularly good either I enjoyed it for the visuals if not the plot which was certainly lacking. It felt like one of those films where they had gone over every detail in the source material and tried to fit all of it in instead of just taking a small portion and focusing on that. Definitely not as bad as some people say but nowhere near as good as it could have been.

I really enjoyed the opening sequence with the ISS being expanded on and all the different meetings to the David Bowie song. If the rest of the film had been more in keeping with the opening it would have been a lot stronger.

On Sunday I got to watch Molly's Game which is the directorial debut of "love him or hate him" Aaron Sorkin. I am certainly in the former category, enough of a fan to recognise that Idris Elba's law firm was the same one that Rob Lowe had worked for in the West Wing. My viewing companion commented on the way out how much he had enjoyed seeing a film with a strong female lead that did not involve a romance. Certainly, one to pass the Bechtel test.

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Re: Last movie you watched

https://thefilmstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Phantom-Thread-alternate-poster-6-620x916.jpg

Hoooooooly god this movie.

If there's any justice Jonny Greenwood is walking away with the Oscar for best score, no contest—this is the best work he's ever done, rapturous and sinister and romantic in a genuinely Hitchcockian way. PTA's love of film grain has never been more essential—the entire movie looks like it was shot through lace, an effect that alternates between gorgeous mist and feverish haze. His darkest piece of work besides There Will Be Blood, but also acidly funny, the kind of funny that makes you laugh but simultaneously squirm with anxiety.

This might have my favorite ending of any film ever. I need to see it again immediately.

New PTA ranking: Inherent Vice > The Master > Boogie Nights > Punch-Drunk Love > There Will Be Blood > Phantom Thread > Magnolia > Hard Eight. On a rewatch this one will probably jump past PDL and TWBB.

Last edited by DarthPraxus (2018-01-17 17:28:55)

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Hm. Well. I have absolutely no bead on how I'll feel about this thing.

On the one hand, I tend to agree with your reviews and would thusly expect to enjoy it; on the other, you say The Master is an even better movie, and I straight-up walked out of that shit. (I think I've only ever walked out in the middle of an unseen movie twice in my life, and the other time doesn't count because I was eleven.)

Whatever. I'll probably see it regardless; especially if I'm feelin the strain after a few Dayless years.

I'll tell you this: I fucking love the logo, and its animated treatment in the trailer.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Teague wrote:

What's funny is, I have absolutely no bead on how I'll feel about this thing. On the one hand, I tend to agree with your reviews and would thusly expect this to blow my mind; on the other, you say The Master is an even better movie, and I straight-up walked out of that shit.

https://78.media.tumblr.com/fd833c3a5ed0499258a62455e5431755/tumblr_mhrx8aKlgu1r28ha4o2_500.gif

FWIW this is definitely a more fun movie than The Master—it's probably equally as oppressive at points, but it's a straight-up black comedy where The Master is more openly weird and alienating.

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How does it compare to The Master in terms of abject interminability?

Sorry. I'm trying to be gentle.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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