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On 5/14/2022 at 10:35 PM, Poobah said:

Saw Everything Everywhere All At Once yesterday and I loved it. I thoroughly recommend it, but I have no idea how to describe it. I need to see it again.

Its difficult to describe it without possibly making it seem too weird for someone who's undecided about watching it or not. So better to just let Michelle Yeoh sell it and how she approached the role (Timestamp: 14:10) - emotional at the very end. And then go back and watch the rest of this video from the start to appreciate how awesome Yeoh has been all this time, I've seen all these films but had forgotten she did all her stunts! 

 

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10 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

I think Scream 3 holds up pretty well, the original trilogy holds up well overall.

I'd love to one day see a director's cut of Scream 3. I have seen variations of the climax, which aren't much different from the original. That said - knowing that the film only got to have Neve Campbell for about 20-30 days explains why there's so little of Sidney in the film. But it does make sense with her being hidden in rural California and all.

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I watched Ti West's X yesterday, a horror film set in 1979 about a group of lowlifes heading out to Texas to shoot a porn movie in the hope of cashing in on all the Deep Throat fervor. They travel to a farm and as you can imagine, the locals are none too keen on these outsiders' plans.

It's been a while since I saw a horror film at the theatre, but this was an enjoyable experience. You are not missing out on anything by not seeing it, but it is definitely above the average. It's not very scary, but I like the atmosphere and the way they take their time to develop the story.

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I finished The Staircase docu series. It did get me hooked around episode 7-8ish. The post-verdict bits were an emotional punch in a way I didn’t expect it. It’s a far better production than the drama series. 

 

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Watching a really good show called Slow Horses on Apple.

Gary Oldman plays a veteran spook, consigned to Slough House, where he manages a bunch of Her Majesty's secret service fuckups.

I thought it was going to be a fairly light show - a bit like that thing with about community service with Christopher Walken. But it's much darker than that. Young Odda from The Last Kingdom gives a terrifyingly deranged performance. Excellent stuff.

 

 

 

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The book series did not engage me -- though it has and does others.  However, I am guessing they've filed off the offputs (for me) from the books, or at least smoothed them to great degree, and I might like the screen version.  But then, I'd have to have Apple.  :dunno:

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a good reminder that I never actually watched/played Bandersnatch. I got excited about it but then the few times I started it I was tired and like "oh god don't ask me stuff."

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Posted (edited)

Just finished watching Stephen Graham in  Boiling Point, a 90 minute, single-take film (genuine single-take, no hidden cuts) about the head chef at an upscale London restaurant. I imagine it's popular with foodies and veterans of working kitchens, and I have to say it's pretty captivating as the camera weaves around following different members of the staff and various issues -- past and present -- are skillfully hinted at over the course of the film. Graham is terrific. The film reminds me a little bit of Locke, the Tom Hardy drama from a decade ago, maybe in part due to Graham's Scouse accent having some similitary to Hardy's Welsh accent in that film, but also because they're both just good. 

Oh, and I finally got to watch The Northman. Liked it so much that I may see it a second time. Purely in terms of technical craft and commitment to the creator's goals, the film is unimpeachable, IMO; Eggers and Blaschke work wonderfully together, and Eggers's and Sjón's script manages to achieve something pretty incredibl. It presents us a Viking story through immaculate representation of not only its material culture but, more importantly, the immaterial culture -- the mindset, the world view, the social fabric.

That said, marketing for this film presented it as first and foremost as a historical revenge drama, and I think they missed a step because it is (by our standards) a fantasy film featuring a revenge drama. This film takes the seed of the Amleth story from Saxo Grammaticus and is in conversation with Shakespeare's iteration, but it also drives at something more primal and mystical. The way I see the film, it's a representation of the original lost Icelandic narrative, or some form of it now long lost, one that was filled with mound dwellers and prophecies and Valkyries that were later lost when a Christian Swede recounted it. And so the logic of the story and how it plays out, the way the characters convey themselves, these follow the logic of the sagas. Things that we would expect to see in a different, more typical narrative do not happen -- we get gaps, things that Norse sags would not dwell on (think, say, Beowulf and its lack of interiority for many characters), and heightens the experience by frequent reference to the otherworldly.

Great performances all around, but Nicole Kidman's turn as Gudrún -- especially in the latter half of the film -- is amazing and had the film been a financial success would almost certainly win her some award nominations. 

Spoiler

Gudrún revealing that she arranged her husband's death, and did not care at all about the son he had gotten on her when she was his slave, was a terrifically-presented turn. She sought her own revenge, and so Amleth's vendetta is also with her... but at the end he can't hold it in his heart to blame her, as seen when he remarks on her death by iron meaning that they may be reunited in Valhalla. Vendettas and feuds were a real part of the social fabric of Norse life, as evidenced by the sagas many accounts of them, and it is perfect that the film is essentially about the generally-unending nature of vendettas as the next generation finds itself pushed to seek revenge for past wrongs.

I also have to say, I love just how Viking the whole thing feels. I've said this on another movie site, but in a conventional film Gudrún would have pretended to be overjoyed at Amleth's survival, would dissemble about her role in Aurvandil's death and Amleth's near-murder, and would lead Amleth to a trap. And then, femme fatale-like, she would reveal the truth. But this is not a conventional, modern narrative. Instead of dissimulating, Gudrún bluntly, even proudly, owns up to her having taken revenge on her behalf, and that the weight of her thirst for revenge outweighed Amleth's life quite a lot. Not exactly the thing you'd tell a hulking, murderous sword-wielding guy if you wanted to live... but she is as fully bought in to the cultural concept of vengeance and justice as Amleth is. Really cool.

(And when she then tries to trick him through seduction -- a lovely take on the Oedipal reading of Hamlet -- she mentions that if he's so untamed as to kill her young son Gunnar, but of course she and Fjölnir themselves were so untamed as to seek Amleth's death. And let's not even mention the fact that her vision of Aurvandil may not really capture the truth of the man -- she claimed she doubted he loved Amleth, but what do we actually see in those first scenes? He insists on hugging him in front of his people despite the fact that Amleth is old enough to be treated more formally, he initiates his son into adulthood, he gives him a rich gift... and of course, he yells for him to run as he turns to try and hold off the men who've come to kill him, using up what will be some of his last breaths.

The presentation of Aurvandil is definitely opposed to Gudrún's rationalization of him, based on her particular experiences.

I have only one quibble, regarding a late part of the film:

Spoiler

After Amleth's rescue from imprisonment, after his dream-vision of his rescue by the hand of a Valkyrie, we find Olga dressed in fine fresh clothing, with two horses... and she has fine, fresh clothing for Amleth as well. No explanations, it's just how it is.

Now, I know, I know, my own framing of this whole film is that Sjón and Eggers are deliberately presenting us with the unreal skaldic version of this story, where such things are a matter of course, and I was seriously open to that. But the combination of the Valkyrie interlude and the idyllic nature of what we see after really threw me for a loop. It felt like we were being given a second dream sequence, and so I kept expecting a fake out and that Amleth would regain consciousness and still be imprisoned or perhaps woken by Olga helping him out. That nagging expectation that that's what they were doing did distract me from just giving us the skald's version of things.

Seriously, only quibble. Loved the rest, start to finish. Think I've convinced myself to go to another screening tomorrow.

ETA: Forgot to add that I think The Northman pairs very interestingly with David Lowery's The Green Knight. That film is less grounded in the material culture, more deliberately unreal and imaginative, but it still tries to give an insight to a now-lost view of reality.

Edited by Ran
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Also just finished The Northman. I thought it was fantastic. 
 

The director said he wanted to create THE Viking movie and I feel he really pulled it off. It felt authentically Viking and historically accurate, from the clothing to the setting to the language. 
 

Also like The Green Knight it also felt like a genuine attempt to tell an ancient tale in a way that feels steps away from just a Hollywood movie, but closer to the storytelling methods from the past.

 

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33 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Also just finished The Northman. I thought it was fantastic. 
 

The director said he wanted to create THE Viking movie and I feel he really pulled it off. It felt authentically Viking and historically accurate, from the clothing to the setting to the language. 
 

Also like The Green Knight it also felt like a genuine attempt to tell an ancient tale in a way that feels steps away from just a Hollywood movie, but closer to the storytelling methods from the past.

 

If only he could have made a movie that mode more sense. It's like he got lost in authenticity and forgot about the plot.

Spoiler

A few have already mentioned how this new slave was able to move freely at night and no one saw him doing his arts and crafts. Then the bigger thing. He spent his whole life wanting to kill his Uncle and he falls for the girl and decides very quickly to abandon his life quest?

 

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On Northman 

Spoiler

Firstly I just don’t think you are meant to watch this move through a standard Hollywood lens. Like Green knight it’s a story told a bit like on old folklore tale, and that means it doesn’t tend to need to be examined in the same way you’d view a standard movie. It’s more poetic and symbolic.

Having said that, I don’t see any real reason why he couldn’t have done the things he did, it’s dark, isolated, not many people around.

Also he ran off from his life quest after the encounter with his Mother, which blindsided him and made him realise how futile it all was. Until she got pregnant and he needed to go back to protect her

 

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1 minute ago, dbunting said:

If only he could have made a movie that mode more sense. It's like he got lost in authenticity and forgot about the plot.

It makes sense if you understand it uses the logic of sagas and epics. Beowulf has its "plot holes" (from our perspective) which were probably not at all considered a problem for its intended audience. The Iliad too. Same with this -- the sensibility of the narrative is that of something presented in a fire-lit hall, something that made sense to those gathered round who shared the same framework of understanding. (This reminds me of the famous essay  "Shakespeare in the Bush", which -- funnily enough -- is about someone trying to convey the plot of Hamlet to people with a very different cultural frame.)

I'm not surprised a lot of people bounced off of it because it's asking for some very unusual work from audiences. It's one thing to tell people to suspend disbelief when they watch wizards throwing fireballs around or what have you, quite another to have a deeply grounded rendition of the past and then ask people to understand that back in the day certain things we think of as Plotting 101 were not how people in the past saw things.

 

Spoiler
Quote

He spent his whole life wanting to kill his Uncle and he falls for the girl and decides very quickly to abandon his life quest?

To be fair, he didn't spend his whole life wanting to kill his uncle. His vision encounter with the Slav seeress literally reminds him that he has forgotten his oath to avenge his father and that he had turned away from his fate.

That said, his mother revealing that she was as guilty of Aurvandil's murder as Fjölnir obviously shook him up massively, as was the recognition that despite the years of brutal living he still had the capacity to love (which his mother directly targets, both in that confrontation scene and then later when Fjölnir threatens Olga and Amleth ends up revealing himself), something which he believed he no longer had to begin with. 

 

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I do think that actually The Northman could have leaned a lot more into its Saga stylings. I think part of the reason some of the audience feel alienated or confused by events in the movie is because in some ways its Eggers most mainstream movie to date, and it plays out like a standard historical revenge movie for a lot of it's run time. If for instance the movie was less interested in speaking to a mainstream audience and embraced the surreal, jarring aspects of 'fireplace storytelling' it might have done a better job of communicating it's true essence! 

There are times when the movie really does lean into its fantastical, legendary nature, during the sword scene and with the 'witches', and also some of the framing feels very theatrical at times. There are some shots during the end where he confronts his uncle in the hut, that are framed very statically and centrally, that move away from the realism of the rest of the movie and become a bit more 'grimy Wes Anderson' , which is maybe something that could have worked if it was utilised more often.

The Green Knight is kind of the template I'm thinking of, I really feel that movie captures the narrative tone of medieval poems and the otherworldly sense of those stories that don't quite make sense today.

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

I do think that actually The Northman could have leaned a lot more into its Saga stylings.

To be fair, this was probably what Eggers and Sjón were going for but the test screenings and studio notes led to it being made more commercial and "entertaining". See the New Yorker profile for evidence of that, but here's a choice quote:

Quote

“Frankly, I don’t think I will do it again,” he said. “Even if it means, like, not making a film this big ever again. And, by the way, I’d like to make a film this big. I’d like to make one even bigger. But, without control, I don’t know. It’s too hard on my person.”

 

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