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Watch Watched Watching: The Rambunctious Cinema of Terrence Malick

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Finally got around to watching Tenet now that it's on HBO Nordic. Linda watched it with me as she loves time travel movies. It's... a good flick, but not a great film. That is, it's really entertaining in the way you have to wrap your head around the central conceit of the film, the inversion of entropy, and seeing if you can piece together the plot as it weaves back and forth. And the action sequences are amazing, particularly the Protagonist fight at the Freeport which was just wild, and the end sequence of course.

But it's not great film because, however cinematic it is visually, it's so packed with shiny distraction that it doesn't really give you great characters. Pattinson's always a great presence, Brannagh clearly played the hell out of his villain, but the room barely has time to let anyone breathe because the high conceptness of it is so dominant. Inception balanced things a bit better, I think.

 

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13 hours ago, Quijote Light said:

Agreed with the love for Ladyhawke, but I hated the score.  It was the one thing I disliked from the movie. 

It's not available streaming here in the US and never has been, at least not the subscription services to which I subscribe.  If it's on Disney -- don't subscribe to that one because its content is generally of no interest to this viewer.  On Amazon Prime, to which I do $ub$cribe, it's only available via paying yet another fee.  I don't see why I should be paying that when I'm already paying for the AP $ub$cription, so eff me then, but there it i$. I would like to view this film again at some point, but I don't wish to that much. :cheers:

~~~~~~~

Tonight the second episodes of both Unforgotten, final season 4, and White Lotus go up, on PBS and HBO respectively. Unforgotten was one of the best recent series in its category, so I'm happy to finally get it here in the US (it will eventually show up on Acorn, I think, as the previous seasons have).  The first episode of White Lotus was engaging, so am looking forward to seeing where, if anywhere, the second one will go, as I admired Beatriz At Dinner so much, which is the only thing of White's I've seen. I've also got the last episode of El Cid (season 2).  It has, like the first season, only 5 episodes, leaving me wanting more.  We're only now getting to the Stuff of las leyendas.

 

Edited by Zorral

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Strangers on a Train 

Spoiler

Hitchcock made 3 appearances according to my count 

Fantastic for the era

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Yesterday I watched The Hurricane. It shows just how racist and corrupt the "justice" system can be, and Denzel Washington's performance in this cements him as my favorite actor ever. 

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The downside of movie nights with a friend is that you occasionally have to sit through a bloated mess like Tim Burton's Big Fish. It's a miracle that I didn't fall asleep and I'm pretty sure I'd not have finished it if I had watch this alone. It baffles me how a director with that much visual flair and such a great cast to work with can end up with something as dull and uninspired as this. 

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I watched Last Flag Flying because I saw it was a Richard Linklater movie. This was not the Linklater movie I was going for. Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston and Lawrence Fishburne are Vietnam veterans who reunite and go on a road trip of sorts to help Carrell who has been overcome by sudden tragedy in his life.

First, Bryan Cranston takes over the movie to the point where he is more of the main character than Steve Carrell.  This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing except his character is, by design, an abrasive and somewhat annoying person. Also, his character reminded me a little too much of Walter White.. except different somehow that I cannot pinpoint accurately. Where the film should have balanced the 3 characters, I felt Cranston drowned out the other 2 in terms of screen time and dialogue.

Second, the movie attempts to make not very subtle statements about war.. connecting the futility of the Iraq war with the Vietnam War (complete with actual video clippings of George W Bush, Saddam Hussein's capture, and the death of Saddam's sons). The heavy handedness of it just makes the movie feel like anti-war propaganda at this point. They do try and do the US military and it's soldiers some justice in terms of their character and honor and discipline.. but then segway into a scene where a Colonel becomes sort of a temproary bad guy for completely inexplicable and unbelievable motives. These side distractions take away from what should have been the central focus of the film -- Carrell dealing with his grief and the support his friends can provide through their shared experiences. That might be a little cliche or a common trope now but I was looking for the Linklater version of that kind of story and didn't feel like I got that.

Edited by WarGalley

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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

The downside of movie nights with a friend is that you occasionally have to sit through a bloated mess like Tim Burton's Big Fish. It's a miracle that I didn't fall asleep and I'm pretty sure I'd not have finished it if I had watch this alone. It baffles me how a director with that much visual flair and such a great cast to work with can end up with something as dull and uninspired as this. 

My father has always been a storyteller (and a fisherman, who are required to be story tellers as far as I know), often with ones that seem too good to be true. He also looked strongly like Albert Finney in that movie when it came out, and I passably like Billy Crudup. Our relationship has been a rocky road, especially back then, It's a schlocky fairy tale of a movie, but I actually haven't rewatched it in probably a decade simply because it tugs on my heartstrings since so much of it reminds me of my own father and our attempts to resolve our distancing when I was hitting adulthood. Dad's still kicking about and our relationship is healthy now, but I probably won't watch that movie for a very long time, simply because the ending, as corny and saccharine as it is, is guaranteed to get my faucets running full bore.

I can see how someone with no emotional connection to the plot might be put off by the fanciful sentimentality and questionable pacing, but you're the first I know of to simply be bored by it. No worries! Peeking at its pages now, it seems to have been relatively well received by critics, anyways.

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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

The downside of movie nights with a friend is that you occasionally have to sit through a bloated mess like Tim Burton's Big Fish.

Boo.  I adore Big Fish.  Probably the last good movie Burton's made (I don't know for sure because I gave up watching his movies).

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4 hours ago, Veltigar said:

The downside of movie nights with a friend is that you occasionally have to sit through a bloated mess like Tim Burton's Big Fish. It's a miracle that I didn't fall asleep and I'm pretty sure I'd not have finished it if I had watch this alone. It baffles me how a director with that much visual flair and such a great cast to work with can end up with something as dull and uninspired as this. 

I adored that movie, it's my favorite Burton movie by a mile, and it makes me cry every time I watch it.

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I don't know if I'd say Big Fish is Burton's best movie, but yeah it's my favorite too.  Actually, Sleepy Hollow would probably be my second favorite instead of the obvious (Beetlejuice, Scissorhands).

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Posted (edited)

 I really want to watch Space Jam 2. I want to see the movie where 6 screenwriters and 16 producers decided  Droogs and a Rick And Morty cameo was OK, but Pepe le Pew had to go. It sounds amazing.

Edited by Deadlines? What Deadlines?

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Big Fish is a movie that I think on paper should be amazing, it had all the elements to make it a classic, but somewhere along the line it just doesn’t seem to land the tone. Maybe I just in general don’t think Ewan McGregor is actually very good in anything except Trainspotting, or maybe it was yet another Helena Bonham Carter appearance that she seemed obliged to put in. 
 

On that note , the above post also reminded me that I really don’t think Bryan Cranston has done anything good outside of Breaking Bad .. and Malcom in the Middle. Almost everything since BB seems to be him leveraging that role and just reworking it.. with hair. But I don’t ever buy it. He has moved into ‘serious acting’ territory but I still think his primary skills are comedy. 

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10 hours ago, Argonath Diver said:

My father has always been a storyteller (and a fisherman, who are required to be story tellers as far as I know), often with ones that seem too good to be true. He also looked strongly like Albert Finney in that movie when it came out, and I passably like Billy Crudup. Our relationship has been a rocky road, especially back then, It's a schlocky fairy tale of a movie, but I actually haven't rewatched it in probably a decade simply because it tugs on my heartstrings since so much of it reminds me of my own father and our attempts to resolve our distancing when I was hitting adulthood. Dad's still kicking about and our relationship is healthy now, but I probably won't watch that movie for a very long time, simply because the ending, as corny and saccharine as it is, is guaranteed to get my faucets running full bore.

I can see how someone with no emotional connection to the plot might be put off by the fanciful sentimentality and questionable pacing, but you're the first I know of to simply be bored by it. No worries! Peeking at its pages now, it seems to have been relatively well received by critics, anyways.

58 on metacritic for an established director like Burton with that cast is hardly stellar I'd say. But mileage varies of course and if the film reminds you of something in your own life I can see how it could appeal. Not having that connection at all,  I thought it was rote, predictable and just overlong for what it was. Especially the pay-off at the end was so pedestrian I couldn't believe we had not reached it at least half-an-hour earlier.

I was hoping for a last-minute curve ball

Spoiler

Especially related to the death of Albert Finney's character. I was joking to my friend at a given point that it would be great if the film didn't end with his predictable death of cancer, but with him as one of the 9/11 hijackers or one of those idiots who fought for ISIS (the latter a tad difficult for a 2003 film of course) :P  At least the random shock of that would have made me laugh.

 

10 hours ago, DMC said:

Boo.  I adore Big Fish.  Probably the last good movie Burton's made (I don't know for sure because I gave up watching his movies).

That would be Sleepy Hollow for me. Such a great flick.

8 hours ago, Kaligator said:

I adored that movie, it's my favorite Burton movie by a mile, and it makes me cry every time I watch it.

Well, I totally get why someone would cry after having to see it repeatedly :P

I jest, I'm glad you all liked it. 

3 hours ago, Heartofice said:

Big Fish is a movie that I think on paper should be amazing, it had all the elements to make it a classic, but somewhere along the line it just doesn’t seem to land the tone. Maybe I just in general don’t think Ewan McGregor is actually very good in anything except Trainspotting, or maybe it was yet another Helena Bonham Carter appearance that she seemed obliged to put in. 

Yeah, it has a lot of elements that should be great, but he wasn't able to use those pieces to lay out a good puzzle. 

3 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

Ted Lasso man. I needed to watch that show. Made me feel all kind of feels. 

:grouphug: Greatest show of 2020 for me.

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17 hours ago, Veltigar said:

The downside of movie nights with a friend is that you occasionally have to sit through a bloated mess like Tim Burton's Big Fish. It's a miracle that I didn't fall asleep and I'm pretty sure I'd not have finished it if I had watch this alone. It baffles me how a director with that much visual flair and such a great cast to work with can end up with something as dull and uninspired as this. 

I love Big Fish. Watched it multiple times. Different strokes for different folks.

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I just got back from seeing Cruella (2021) in the theatre. A friend of mine asked me to come and since the reviews in the Guardian were solid, I decided to tag along. I still expected it to be excruciatingly bad, like Maleficent and every other piece of live-action remake crap Disney has felt fit to serve us. I believed that none of these remakes/prequels would ever be able to justify its existence from a non-financial point of view. 

So here I am, proudly stating that that was a mistake. I had a blast watching Cruella. Occasionally, you go to the movies and you see a film you know you'll remember positively and this is definitely one of them. It has everything you want from a summer blockbuster. A great cast, a brilliant villain, it was genuinely witty, stylish, had a distinct sense of time and place to itself (the Disneyfied version of 70' London with flashes of punk, combined with leftovers from the Victorian and Edwardian era was pretty damn cool) and it had a great narrative to boot. In short, it left me wanting more. If every Disney remake was able to bring this level of quality, I'd go see all of them on opening night. 

Instead of slavishly copying the original or emotionally manipulating the viewer into rooting for a character with the same name as the original villain but with a completely different personality, the film makers on Cruella clearly went out of their way to tell their own story within the confines set out by the fact that this is supposed to be a prequel. I'm sure that if I ever rewatch the original animation film (or one of the previous Glenn Close live-action versions) I will appreciate those films more because of what I have learned about Cruella, Horace and Jasper in this film. Higher praise I don't think I can give.

It really has such a great script. Like every summer blockbuster, there are questionable moments but these screenwriters and directors understood the magic of narrative flow. They knew when to let the story breathe and when to fast forward. That sort of control/understanding is a rare thing nowadays in this age of self-indulgent blockbusters, so I laud this creative team for displaying so much of it.

Honestly, I'm genuinely surprised that this isn't a take-down review. I fully expected this film to earn a hatchet job, but instead it really deserves the opposite. I hope this film turns a good profit and that Disney will rehire the writers/director again because this crew clearly knows what they are doing.

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I watched all the Netflix Fear movies the past couple weeks. Overall I enjoyed them. The first two kinda emulated slashers for the years they took place in, and the last one showed more-so the origin of the story as a whole. I'm a sucker for anything taking place in the 90's so the first one was my favorite. 

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17 minutes ago, l2 0 5 5 said:

I watched all the Netflix Fear movies the past couple weeks. Overall I enjoyed them. The first two kinda emulated slashers for the years they took place in, and the last one showed more-so the origin of the story as a whole. I'm a sucker for anything taking place in the 90's so the first one was my favorite. 

We enjoyed them too. I read the books as a kid and the nostalgic worked well for me. The soundtrack was on point.

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21 minutes ago, l2 0 5 5 said:

I watched all the Netflix Fear movies the past couple weeks. Overall I enjoyed them. The first two kinda emulated slashers for the years they took place in, and the last one showed more-so the origin of the story as a whole. I'm a sucker for anything taking place in the 90's so the first one was my favorite. 

Those movies were so odd. I'm a sucker for horror so I enjoyed them quite a bit but:

 

The bread slicer kill was soooo brutal compared to the rest of that first movie. I loved it for that but geez. 

I don't understand why, if it wasn't the witch getting your blood on her bones made you a target? And like the little brother knew Ziggy had done so? I think he says "there was a survivor" but there were dozens of survivors. The only thing that made Ziggy special was that she bled on the bones and that obviously wasn't in the newspaper. 

The "C. Berman" twist was also telegraphed pretty much the minute they used just an initial. Then the hair color and the relationship with the sheriff. I'd be surprised if anyone watching didn't figure that out before the reveal. Except the kid brother is shocked by it? So she just told that whole long story about her sister being murdered in the third person?  

I liked the last part a lot more than I thought I would, given the setting doesn't evoke any nostalgia. That little kid with the stick is creepy as fuck.  

Edited by RumHam

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