The Last Film You Saw in the Cinema?


(John Welles) #1081

I’ve heard people say the time lapse scenes showing the passing of time were contrived but I felt they worked within the context of the film; and the fluid photography works due to the theatrical setting, we can never “cut away” from a moment, just like in theatre itself. Hey, I like Rope!


(Stanton) #1082

Contrived? I have no idea how they could be contrived.


(titoli) #1083

Birdman (2014)

Everybody in this movie doubts themselves, feels insecure, fakes emotions and uses cynicism as self-defense. This is a movie about movie stars, their fleeting fame and depression. It is also about real emotions, real desires and real fears. It’s about you and me. It provokes anxiety and laughs. It’s great. Another 10/10 here.

Stanton and John: How do you read the ending?


(Mickey13) #1084

Well, well… seems I’ve got to see the thing after all. :slight_smile:


(Stanton) #1085

[quote=“titoli, post:1083, topic:2027”]Birdman (2014)

Everybody in this movie doubts themselves, feels insecure, fakes emotions and uses cynicism as self-defense. This is a movie about movie stars, their fleeting fame and depression. It is also about real emotions, real desires and real fears. It’s about you and me. It provokes anxiety and laughs. It’s great. Another 10/10 here.

Stanton and John: How do you read the ending?[/quote]

At the moment, after having watched Birdman only once, I think he freed himself by doing what he does in the first scene, not flying, but levitating as part of advanced meditation, but now high up in the air, without a “safety net”. He now transformed in a real Birdman.

I know a girl from Sri Lanka, she says that this form of levitation is real, no trick. One can achieve it by the power of the mind. As long as I believe her I will interpret this part of the film differently, while normally I do not believe in things which are not happening in the world I live in.


(titoli) #1086

I think that maybe explanation of the ending that gets closest to the intention of filmmakers is this one: We are supposed to imagine what Sam sees. This, like other ambiguous parts of the movie, creates an open-ended interpretation game, and makes the viewer part of the delusion and/or artful solution. We are made to imagine what she sees, and then to question what we have imagined.

But that means that I have to make my own interpretation. At the moment I am close to this two (WATCH FOR SPOILERS):

  1. He accepted what he is. He embraced the Birdman, he is a movie star. That helped him to achieve peace of mind, get his shit together and reconnect with people that are really important in his life.
  2. His neurosis and mental instability finally got the best of him. Birdman taking a shit is a comment that even after the acclamation his mind will not be satisfied. So he jumped through the window (and didn’t fly), but he (memory of him) will remain important in the lives of people that were really important in his life (and to lesser extent, in public life).

(Stanton) #1087

As we don’t see it, it remains of course ambiguous.

Sam looks at first down in fear, but then looks up with a smile. And it makes sense to connect this with the first image of the film (actually it is not really the first, but the first of the film-long take). He doesnt’t fly, he isn’t Birdman from whom he had already emancipated himself, but he floats being in peace with himself.
Whatever it is a beautiful ending.


(John Welles) #1088

Major SPOILERS:

Birdman’s ending left me with slightly mixed feelings; I need to see it again to make up my mind. However, it seems clear to me when Keaton says “Bye-bye. And fuck you” to his alter ego Birdman shows he can finally let go, now that he’s achieved success. Keaton’s character though, shots himself on stage and it’s tempting to think that this very last scene is just a fantasia on his part, an imagination of what will happen after he shoots himself, perhaps dead, on stage. In this way, you could connect it to the ends of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, although here it’s even more intended not to be take literally. In a way, it’s unambiguously happy: he reunites with his daughter, his play’s a success, even the critic who was going castigate him is cautiously congratulatory, he finally rids his Birdman neurosis but can still soar without him, physically and artistically: it’s a wish-fulfillment. Other interpretations are as valid of course and I like titoli’s #2 idea, but again, a re-watch has to be in order before I have any degree of certainty.


(Stanton) #1089

Yes, all possible.

I take the ending literally at the moment.


(titoli) #1090

[quote=“John Welles, post:1088, topic:2027”]Major SPOILERS:

Birdman’s ending left me with slightly mixed feelings; I need to see it again to make up my mind. However, it seems clear to me when Keaton says “Bye-bye. And fuck you” to his alter ego Birdman shows he can finally let go, now that he’s achieved success. Keaton’s character though, shots himself on stage and it’s tempting to think that this very last scene is just a fantasia on his part, an imagination of what will happen after he shoots himself, perhaps dead, on stage. In this way, you could connect it to the ends of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, although here it’s even more intended not to be take literally. In a way, it’s unambiguously happy: he reunites with his daughter, his play’s a success, even the critic who was going castigate him is cautiously congratulatory, he finally rids his Birdman neurosis but can still soar without him, physically and artistically: it’s a wish-fulfillment. Other interpretations are as valid of course and I like titoli’s #2 idea, but again, a re-watch has to be in order before I have any degree of certainty.[/quote]

Here’s what Inarritu said: “I was interested in exploring the battles with the ego, the idea that no matter how successful you are, whether in money or recognition, it’s always an illusion. It’s temporary. When you are chasing the things you think you want and empower the people to validate you, when you finally get them, you soon find an impermanence in that joy.” Then he goes on about how he likes characters which are insecure, driven by doubt and contradictions…which are everybody he knows, all of us.


(Filmlovr1) #1091

John Wick

IMO, this is the best American-made action movie in years. Keanu Reeves gets a lot of flack for his acting, but John Wick is the perfect character for him. I also really liked the character of the Russian crime boss…character-wise, I thought he nearly stole the show.

Selma

Pretty good. I mainly went because someone else wanted to see it.


(El Topo) #1092

[size=12pt]American sniper 2014 - Clint Eastwood[/size]

Not many chances to go to the cinema lately, but really was curious about this last Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood is probably one of the last classical directors in Hollywood terms, normally working for one studio like in the old days, if he keeps this rhythm he will catch Oliveira, who started where there were still no sound in cinema.
Reading the critics (here in Portugal), I was surprised how benevolent they were with American Sniper, considering the flack last Eastwood efforts received. Also from what I’ve read in the social networks, the new “agora” and where the real critics of today are at least the ones that count, I could understand that was no middle ground it was just a love it or leave it, with things going from American propaganda to classic cinema.
Well one thing is for sure, we are very far from Heartbreak Ridge, no sight of Sargent Highway, and no its not propaganda the reason of American Sniper at least in my view. Propaganda means the director goes beyond of taking a point, he wants the viewer also to take his point. Eastwood takes no point in the film, and by no means wants the shove the story in the viewer’s throat, actually it’s a good story to tell just that, he just happens to uses a real character to tell his story.
Chris Kyle wasn’t a fictional person, but the film is more than a mere biopic or isn’t one at all, Chris Kyle was just a mean to an end, in the film’s perspective of course. For instance the scene where Kyle doesn’t shoot the kid with the bible, it’s not about religion, it’s more about everybody suffers in war. And he does a good job in putting us in the sniper’s shoes, I couldn’t help thinking how the hell I would feel, if I had just kill more than 150 persons even if in a war cenario, how my life would be after that.
Bradley Cooper does a good job, even if he’s not natural acting at some times, but still a good performance.
For me it was the best of Clint last movies, not as good as The Hurt Locker, but not easy to tell a story about regular people who rise above, strangely I compare it more to The Deer hunter it’s that type of film. It’s really an “easy” film to watch.
In the end Eastwood has the ability of making a regular and normal film, look good, Just don’t think too much, sometimes things are more simple than they seem, we are the one who make more complicated.


(John Welles) #1093

Exodus: Gods and Kings (Scott/14)

“Exodus: Gods and Kings” (2014), directed by Ridley Scott is a return to the oft-told Biblical story, most famously filmed by Cecil B. DeMille in “The Ten Commandments” (1956), of Moses liberating the Israelites. However, Scott, currently cinema’s foremost director of historical epics with “Gladiator” (2000), “Kingdom of Heaven” (2005) and “Robin Hood” (2010), attempts to bring a fresh approach to a sporadically revived genre that has lain largely dormant for decades.

“Exodus” though, only partially succeeds. Despite running for two and a half hours, the film still feels abbreviated and characters unnecessarily abandoned (Scott has claimed his preferred cut would another ninety minutes). Many of the fine supporting cast, including Aaron Paul, Ben Kingsley and Sigourney Weaver, have little development and merely deliver exposition of the picture’s plot, serving more as ciphers than real characters. Even the adventurous decision of having God portrayed as a petulant child by Issac Andrews backfires, lacking the requisite gravitas. The film is left feeling oddly diminutive despite the massed thousands of slaves or Egyptian soldiers, brought to life by some uneven computer generated imagery. Worse still, the script (by Steven Zaillian amongst others) seems to evade Moses himself; Bale is convincing but he’s asked to create nuances that just aren’t there. Joel Edgerton, as Ramesses, and John Turturro, playing Seti, fare better, embodying the complex court politics of the pharaohs’ rule.

However, all is not lost. If the cast are left to fend for themselves by the script, then at least we can regale in Scott’s beautiful craft. Early scenes, of Ramesses extracting venom from snakes or Mosses visiting a slave encampment run by Ben Mendelsohn, show his grasp of the power of images, the positioning of the camera, the instinctive knowledge of when to cut, revealing Scott’s visual complexity. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski uses digital photography to convey the harshness of the desert light, the unblinking intensity of the North African sun (the film was shot on location in Morocco as well as in Almería, Spain), that admirably shows the dirt and grit of the ancient world. Scott’s movies always look extraordinary and this is no exception: the film’s stand-out sequence is the ten plagues overwhelming the Egyptian capital of Memphis, the Nile turning red and the waves of all-consuming locusts and flies, a visual coup that belongs to a better thought-out film.

“Exodus: Gods and Kings” is undoubtedly a flawed film, belonging to the lower tier’s of Scott’s filmography, and yet in its pictorial richness, it becomes strangely fascinating despite the neglect of a host fine thespians and the erratic quality of its special effects. An intriguing misfire then, that becomes more interesting than more tonally consistent studio pictures. As ever with Scott, maybe the Director’s Cut will be worth waiting for.


(titoli) #1094

Foxcatcher (2015)

Fine character study, which tells the story how nobody will confront someone who is obviously complete nutcase, as long as he is the one who is paying the bills. At moments it drags in getting to the point, but nevertheless keeps you tense while watching increasingly disturbing character development (reminded me in similar character development in Nightcrawler, otherwise movies are not similar). Great work from all actors, Carell is unrecognizable.


(Asa) #1095

Agreed. I honestly thought that a movie featuring Steve Carell trying to act serious through prosthetic makeup would have me laughing like a drain but in fact “Steve Carell” was entirely absent from this movie, replaced by a strange, sinister/pathetic character indeed. It was very good work from him. Channing Tatum wasn’t as awful as I’d imagined he would be either (most of my awareness of the man comes from his meaty head peering at me from my sister-in-law’s laptop wallpaper or from her calendar that she insists on waving at me, or from her generally gushing about him from one end of her body or another), and Mark Ruffalo is as reliably chameleonic as he so often is, disappearing into his character. That said, I feel that I got more about the story from having a post-movie read through Wikipedia than from the movie itself, which seemed to want to leave a quite a few holes in the narrative. Still, it was a good watch.


(titoli) #1096

Tatum was great, he nailed his role. I think I have only seen him in 21 Jump Street (regular dumb comedy pastime) prior to this, I don’t know where his fame comes from (probably some movies for teenagers/teenage girls), so I don’t have aversion for him that many seems to have. I felt the same way as you: movie deliberately wanted to only hint at some stuff, like repressed sexuality, unsocializing effect of wealth, Oedipus complex etc. I like that approach more than when movie spells out everything for you.


(scherpschutter) #1097

I only know Tatum from THE EAGLE, in which he played a Roman officer. Can’t say his acting caused any specific feelings of sympathy or antipathy, so this anti-Tatum thing (noticed it too) must have been caused by appearances in some real shitty movies. Maybe the recent JUPITER ASCENDING by the Waschovkis didn’t do him any good, most critical reactions were vehemently negative.


(John Welles) #1098

Jupiter Ascending (Wachowskis/15)

“Jupiter Ascending” (2015), directed by the Wachowskis, is an intergalactic science fiction film that seeks to provoke awe and exhilaration but falls short on both counts. The Wachowskis have struggled in the sixteen years since making the trend-setting “The Matrix” (1999), not quite recovering their reputation after the critically disappointing sequels and their financially-underwhelming films “Speed Racer” (2008) and “Cloud Atlas” (2012). This means “Jupiter Ascending”, originally scheduled to be released in July 2014 but pushed back to January 2015 to complete the work on the computer generated special effects and to allow its studio Warner Bros., to mount a more effective marketing campaign, has so far struggled critically and commercially. It’s not hard to see why either, with a clunky and exposition-filled opening that betrays a lack of confidence with its subject and further hampered by at times poor dialogue. The script, an original, is all plot and forward momentum, clearly influenced by a number of literary sci-fi sources including Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series and some half-baked allegorising on capitalism. The Wachowskis’ eagerness to create a blockbuster franchise means they rely too heavily on the expected genre traits of epic odysseys, with silent, brooding heroes (Channing Tatum) and hysterical, manic villains (Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, who alternates between quivering whispers and exploding uproar) with an ingénue female lead to be rescued and have the plot explained to (a rather wooden Mila Kunis).

The script is an unsatisfactory mess that manages to conform to every expected reversal in the plot and the Wachowskis compound the feeling of familiarity with a quick editing rhythm (with Alexander Berner doing the actual cutting) that is redolent of many other mainstream action films. The only distinctive directorial set piece is an eight minute aerial battle over the dawn skies of Chicago that allows John Toll’s cinematography to truly breathe and deliver a genuinely thrilling moment in a film that otherwise has little time for Toll’s photographic magic. The other memorable sequence is when Kunis must claim the title to Earth from a galactic bureaucracy; it’s a rare moment of humour in an otherwise po-faced filmed. The production design (by Hugh Bateup) and costume design (by Kym Barrett) is inventive and excellent, from a planet created with a Frank Gehry aesthetic to incorporating Ely Cathedral into the spaceship of Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth in an amusing, self-deprecating performance, the best in the film). It’s visually extraordinary but almost too much; combined with the unrelenting special effects, the rich textures become suffocating, especially when their isn’t the script or characters to sustain it.

In thinking the audience are engaged with its stolid characters, it fails to find any fun in itself, even when Sean Bean is supposed to be half man and half bee. Instead, we’re left to dwell on its ephemeral pleasures, from the costumes and sets to Redmayne’s twitching mannerisms and one well-done action scene. It’s not enough to sustain the picture, leaving the film ultimately hollow and superficial; the Wachowskis were once renowned as original, visionary filmmakers, but now it seems they’re as over-enamoured with special effects and franchise-building at the expense of depth as the rest of Hollywood.


(Stanton) #1099

Everything Will Be Fine - Wim Wenders

Unexpected surprise, Wenders can still make an entertaining film, and actually this is his best since … since … an eternity. Well, since Wings of Desire (1987). It’s poetic, it’s realistic (sort of), it’s sensitive, it’s well acted, it’s in 3-D. 9/10


(John Welles) #1100

Selma (DuVernay/14)

“Selma” (2014), directed by Ava DuVernay, is a snapshot of the US Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s and its attempts to get black Americans the vote in segregated southern states.

DuVernay has crafted a film which consistently refuses to take an idealistic perspective, ensuring the movie remains on a human scale throughout. It takes King as a significant but fallible figure; the British actor David Oyelowo perfectly captures the rhythms and cadence of his speech, although one of the strongest scenes in the film is where he is confronted over his marital infidelities by his wife, Coretta Scott King (Carmen Ejogo). This mixture of the historical and the personal is the film’s most impressive asset, refusing to succumb to a hagiographic awe and thus bearing comparison in approach to Spielberg’s “Lincoln” (2012).

Oyelowo embodies King throughout with admirable intensity and conviction; no better performance could be asked for. He’s ably supported by a cast including Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon Johnson, Tim Roth as Alabama governor George Wallace and various other recognisable faces such as Martin Sheen and Giovanni Ribisi. However, it’s clearly Oyelowo’s film from the very beginning and is actually at its weakest when the film shifts it’s focus, such as the scenes between Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (Dylan Baker), director of the FBI. Not only have issues been raised about their historical credibility, but they fail to have the same emotional resonance and momentum as the sequences showing how King and his associates actually go through the complex problems of organising the march. The infamous attack on the protesters by the police and civilian militia on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, shows DuVernay’s skills as director, the fog of tear gas and the wounded, running people, shot and cut like a war scene.

Cinematographer Bradford Young shoots with a palette of warm brown and golden tones and DuVernay certainly isn’t afraid of letting Young’s camera sit unobtrusively in medium shot, letting the audience experience the actors’ interactions and performances, most notably when King and another activist just cruise along the darkened Selma streets, reflecting on recent, tumultuous events.

The film is at its weakest when trying to cover too much, such as factional in-fighting in different civil rights groups or when it starts to resemble standard Hollywood biopics with the final triumphant scene at Alabama’s state capitol: it’s undoubtedly stirring but feels a little formulaic. “Selma” is at its best when it takes an alternative tack to the usual Hollywood formulations and delivers an intimate portrayal of a crucial moment in American history.