You are right about Sam Rockwell as W. I hope he gets a supporting actor nomination, come Oscar time. I also agree about Steve Carrell, especially when he played the younger version of Rumsfeld.Saw Vice last night. I enjoyed the movie and would call it good, but not great. The performances, however, were fantastic. Christian Bale, of course was awesome and I was expecting that. But Sam Rockwell WAS W and that was a surprise. After the first sighting, I never thought it was Sam, I only saw W. The speech and mannerisms were spot on. OTOH, I always saw Steve Carell in Rumsfeld and couldn't lose sight of that. On the whole, the movie seemed more of an SNL skit to me than a movie to take seriously, even though I learned things. I worked for the feds at the time of 9/11 and reliving that is always emotional, but also being reminded of the craziness and going on at the time regarding the decision makers - sobering. Personally, I think the embedded part during credits gook away from the movie and made the whole thing seem like a farce.
I don’t understand the fascination of critics (and some viewers) for slowness and gimmicks. As good the cinematography is, it is somewhat gimmicky. May be it is what the director wanted. If I wanted to see just art, I would go to a museum or an art gallery. A movie has a different purpose. There needs to be Some entertainment and we shouldn’t have to wait for 40 minutes to see something happen. Small things do happen, but often there are individual scenes without much connection with each other.
Vash01, cinema is an art form no less than painting (there is commercial painting just as there is commercial cinemas) As a previous film studies major, I can attest to the fact that entertainment is not required for a film to be considered 'great art'. Take the films of Ingmar Bergman for example. He did make one little-known comedy (forget the title), but for the most part his films were very bleak - and seen as great because they penetrated the (often dark) soul of human existence.I haven't seen If Beale Street Could Talk yet but I wonder of Barry Jenkins also suffers from a bit of derivativeness from his filmmaking idols as Cuaron kind of does in Roma. But at least they have strong POVs and are making movies to actually express something beyond mere entertainment. I also appreciate some deviation from the basic Hollywood storytelling structures because I'm honestly really bored of them right now.
Leviathon was a powerful movie. When it ended, everyone just sat there for a few minutes, speechless, instead of walking out. It was nominated for the Oscar but the Polish film Ida won. That too was deserving (and a bit more traditional) but I would have voted for Leviathon. It did win the Golden Globe though.Appreciate your review of Roma, Vash01. I have to wait to see it on TV because it's no longer playing here - we went on the last day and it was sold out.
I am interested in whether the slow pace will bother me as well, and expect it might.
Vash01, cinema is an art form no less than painting (there is commercial painting just as there is commercial cinemas) As a previous film studies major, I can attest to the fact that entertainment is not required for a film to be considered 'great art'. Take the films of Ingmar Bergman for example. He did make one little-known comedy (forget the title), but for the most part his films were very bleak - and seen as great because they penetrated the (often dark) soul of human existence.
That said, I couldn't watch many of the films I watched multiple of times (sometimes actually using a picture to analyze a film frame by frame) and wrote about as a student. Part of that is having learned how poorly women were sometimes treated by those directors - for example, Maria Schnieder said she felt raped by both Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci in the scene said to be obscene in Last Tango in Paris, even though she consented to it. I just couldn't consider 'Last Tango' to be my favourite film anymore after learning that.
But for the most part I couldn't watch them because they are so woefully lacking in terms of appeal or story. I couldn't sit through Scenes from a Marriage or Dersu Uzala: The Hunter ever again. Both great films, particularly Scenes from a Marriage IMO, but it was a painful.
My favorite 'great' directors remain Robert Altman and Stanley Kubrick. Eyes Wide Shut and Short Cuts are two of my favorite films of all time.
Both are 'art', but both also have compelling characters and an interesting story. I need the latter two if I'm going to enjoy a film that is also see as 'art'. In saying that I acknowledge that all films are art in that they are made by artists. The fact that some films are seen as 'art' films whereas others are classified as 'entertainment' or 'commercial' is probably interested to discuss/debate, but I'll say no more in this post.
Basically, I am much less an intellectual film-goer than I was when I was a student. I still appreciate film as art and really appreciate good film-making, particularly the visual components and especially editing. In general, I still hold the view that film is an art in Europe and an industry in America, but art alone is no longer enough for me.
When I can get art, compelling characters and an interesting story all in one film, I'm over the moon.
One example was the Russian film Leviathon, which I believe won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film or was nominated?
A simple story about a man fighting the city, which wants to demolish his house (not putting this as a spoiler because knowing this won't ruin the film). And an absolutely brilliant and haunting film, highly recommended.
Don't remember Burnt By the Sun, but know that I loved it.I liked many other Russian movies (e.g. Burnt by the sun, Prisoner of the mountain, A soldier's ballad, etc.) but I have not seen one in the last one year. I have nearly run out of Russian movies on Netflix, so I may have to watch them on my computer. I liked some Danish movies too.
Too many screenplays are formulaic, especially in Hollywood, and especially in established genres like romantic comedy. Competent screenplays are common, as are bad ones (IMO) - great screenplays are not.Sure there are movies that are artistic and dark, violent, etc. If they are well made, I can enjoy them, depending on how they are made. I am really hung up on the screenplay part though. I want the movie to flow, like music, or like a good painting (unless it is abstract).
I agree with that slowness can and can not work. Whether it does or not depends on cinematography and editing to a certain extent, and also on acting/characters. There are certain actors I never tire of watching.I am particularly offended when the screenwriters spoil a good story (like Beale street...). I am bothered by the recent tendency to slow down a movie, just to make it artistic. The slowness can work for some movies but sometimes it is forced, and it does not work. I think Seven years in Tibet was a good example of a slow but good movie. Many people found it boring, but not for me because the story was moving and interesting.
I fear I may find Roma boring as well. I am quite sure I will find an egg being slowly broken and eaten terribly boring.I think one of the reasons Steven Spielberg is so successful because he is a great story teller. I want a movie to have a story. Going back to my comments on Roma, it did have a story, but I had to wait for one hour before I realized that. Afterall, how long can you sit in a theater and watch an egg being slowly broken and slowly eaten, for no real purpose? Those are the kind of moments in that film I am criticizing. There are some very good scenes in it too.
Speaking of editing and flow, I think you'll enjoy this video dissecting how the Coen Brothers film and edit the common shot-reverse shot in their dialogue scenes to create a rhythm and flow and sense of comedic timing:'Flow like music' is how I think of editing. When I was studying film editing was still done with a cutting implement and a tape-like thing to glue the frames together. I really salute the editors who masters that form, as it was much more difficult than digital editing.
There were a lot of changes made to Mary Poppins by Disney (which enraged P.L. Travers) when they were making the first movie. Emily Blunt read the books before filming started and found the character of Mary Poppins very different from the first movie, decided to base her interpretation of the character more on the books. Which is probably why you found her a bit stiff in comparison to Julie Andrews portrayal.I finally saw Mary Poppins Returns. I had watched the original last week on dvd, so it was fresh in my mind. I was rather disappointed in the Return, even though it is a well made movie. For me, it lacked the charm of the old one. I felt that Emily Blunt looked a bit stiff as Mary Poppins, again comparing with Julie Andrews (probably not fair).
And, since I read the books, it's probably why I thought her Mary Poppins was perfect!Emily Blunt read the books before filming started and found the character of Mary Poppins very different from the first movie, decided to base her interpretation of the character more on the books.
You saw more foreign films than I have this year. I need to step up my game so I can share my thoughts with you.I saw 'Cold war' (Poland) and 'Capernaum (Lebanon) back to back today. I liked Capernaum more than 'Cold war'. It was gut wrenching to watch what poverty can do.
Earlier in the week I had seen 'Roma' (Mexico) and last November I had seen 'Shoplifters' (Japan). All four were Golden Globes nominees for foreign language films. I liked them all, but I feel that Roma is overrated in the sense it is winning nearly every best picture award, and it should not have dominated. I have already discussed its flaws in an earlier post.
Cold war should have been made in color. There were so many beautiful dance costumes in it! The B&W cinematography didn't do it justice. The Cold war is only a background for the movie, which is basically a love story. It moves from 1949 Poland to (I think 1957) and in between covers many countries they visit, either together or separately. Joanna Kulig is very good, but Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), is also very good.
I had already posted about Shoplifters in November, as a very good movie about human relationships and characters.
Capernaum is about a 12 year old boy who is street smart and kind. The actor who played him looks about 8 or 9 years old. That is its only flaw, IMO. The direction and acting are both very good, as is the screenplay. The 12 year old (Zain - his real name is the same as the name of the character he plays) is a very good actor, but he definitely does not look 12.
All in all, a very good year for foreign language films (as usual). I have to see the 5th nominated movie at GG.
I loved The Return, and I also liked Leviathan. I didn't realize they had the same director.That's interesting that you guys liked Leviathan so much - I was really looking forward to it but found it disappointing. It's been awhile since I've seen it so it's hard to remember exactly why, but I liked the director's earlier movie The Return much better - The Return was so solemn and so focused in its storytelling. With Leviathan, there was something in it that I remember as feeling more cliche than I expected. Maybe I just had too much of an idea of what it would be like going in and couldn't adjust my expectations.
Just saw "Green Book" today. Absolutely loved it, and think it was better than every movie nominated for Best Picture last year at the Oscars. Solid acting throughout, and I love movies based on real stories.
Those trailers get me confused too. I remember seeing trailers from months ago only to realize the movie hasn't even been released in theaters yet!It just shows how much I pay attention to Spider-man. I saw a trailer at Mary Poppins Returns and I thought it was coming out any day now.
I saw it today. Totally agree. What a great movie. Out of all the movies I have seen lately, this is my favourite. Great performances by both the leads. Came away feeling the same as I did after seeing Hidden Figures. Similar themes but a positive feel good movie too and really enjoyable.Just saw "Green Book" today. Absolutely loved it, and think it was better than every movie nominated for Best Picture last year at the Oscars. Solid acting throughout, and I love movies based on real stories.