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Thread: 28 Film Discussion Threads Later

  1. #67426
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Box Office Mojo doesn't list a production budget for Silence, but I'm guessing a three and a half hour period drama shot in Japan with major stars wasn't cheap to make. Even if it didn't do major business, it's still clearly in a different economic bracket than, say, The King of Comedy or The Last Temptation of Christ (to say nothing of a film by Costa or Reygadas). For the record, I don't think Scorsese's post-'80s blockbusters are altogether artistically bankrupt (I especially like Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Age of Innocence, and The Aviator in descending order), but holding him up as the living embodiment of artistic integrity and freewheeling creativity without acknowledging the very real commercial constraints he's under (despite his obvious clout within the industry) strikes me as a form of denial. As much as I like some of Scorsese's films, none of them qualify as the work of a free man.
    This is an old debate. I think Scorsese has been quite vocal about the way he compromises - essentially, he makes some movies for the studios and uses that clout to make his more personal projects. Hence Cape Fear for The Age of Innocence orThe Color of Money for The Last Temptation of Christ. Regardless, when you watch his films, even his more commercial ones, do you feel his vision is compromised? I only once felt this, to be honest, with the silly romantic subplot and action movie trappings of Gangs of New York, but even there I'm not so sure they were mandated by the studio. What I usually feel is that he makes movies that are fiercely personal and thematically uncompromising like The Wolf of Wall Street. If that isn't the work of a "free man", I'm not sure what is.

    I think some filmmakers are simply luckier than others in that the stuff they want to make/watch aligns a bit more with popular taste. I don't feel doing long, silent takes or films with characters that are hard to empathize with makes you a more personal filmmaker. In fact, I think those elements that you associate with "free" cinema are also tropes that can be mimicked by bad directors.

  2. #67427
    Screenwriter Lazlo's Avatar
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    Fun game: Jump on Letterboxd and figure out the most popular film from each of the last ten years that you haven't seen.

    Me:
    2018 - The Cloverfield Paradox
    2017 - Kingsmen: The Golden Circle
    2016 - The Secret Life of Pets
    2015 - The Visit
    2014 - Frank
    2013 - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    2012 - Sinister
    2011 - The Intouchables
    2010 - Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
    2009 - Mr. Nobody
    last four:
    borat subsequent moviefilm - 7
    catch me if you can - 8
    the lovebirds - 5
    enola holmes - 7

    now reading:
    the wes anderson collection by matt zoller seitz
    tuck everlasting by natalie babbitt

    Letterboxd
    The Harrison Marathon - A Podcast About Harrison Ford

  3. #67428
    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    This is an old debate. I think Scorsese has been quite vocal about the way he compromises - essentially, he makes some movies for the studios and uses that clout to make his more personal projects. Hence Cape Fear for The Age of Innocence orThe Color of Money for The Last Temptation of Christ. Regardless, when you watch his films, even his more commercial ones, do you feel his vision is compromised? I only once felt this, to be honest, with the silly romantic subplot and action movie trappings of Gangs of New York, but even there I'm not so sure they were mandated by the studio. What I usually feel is that he makes movies that are fiercely personal and thematically uncompromising like The Wolf of Wall Street. If that isn't the work of a "free man", I'm not sure what is.

    I think some filmmakers are simply luckier than others in that the stuff they want to make/watch aligns a bit more with popular taste. I don't feel doing long, silent takes or films with characters that are hard to empathize with makes you a more personal filmmaker. In fact, I think those elements that you associate with "free" cinema are also tropes that can be mimicked by bad directors.
    I remember reading an interview with Scorsese (I think it was in the Ebert book) where he says resignedly that Gangs of New York is the best film he was capable of making under the circumstances, but he doesn't elaborate.

    Overall, I'd say Scorsese is as serious a filmmaker as is possible for someone in his position to be. To take The Wolf of Wall Street as an example, as an ambivalent celebration of douchey excess, it's conceivably the most entertaining thing Scorsese's made since the early '90s, but I wouldn't describe it as especially serious or uncompromising; even the unpleasantness of the central character is mitigated to a large extent by DiCapprio's charismatic performance (which thankfully does without the sort of Method grandstanding he's been wallowing in since the early 2000s, seemingly with Scorsese's encouragement). In other words, it's a fun film but not one that sticks in your craw.

    Luis Buñuel has a story in his autobiography about meeting Nicholas Ray in Mexico in the 1950s, shortly after Ray made his first big-budget film. Buñuel suggested that Ray would feel freer making a film in Mexico for half the cost, but Ray responded it would be impossible because everyone in Hollywood would think he was finished professionally. And I suspect that Scorsese's position today is even more constricting than Ray's in the '50s. Again, that's not to say that he's a bad filmmaker or that he's no longer capable of making worthwhile films; I just think the heroic mystique that gets attached to him is unwarranted.
    Last edited by baby doll; 04-10-2018 at 09:39 PM.
    Just because...
    The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006) cold
    Asako I & II (Hamaguchi Ryusuke, 2018) mild
    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Underworld by Don DeLillo


    The (New) World

  4. #67429
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Off the top of my head, a handful of directors that make the movies that they want, and still have box office success without studio involvement:

    Scorsese
    Wes Anderson
    Quentin Tarantino
    Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

    Pierrot Le Fou - *** 1/2
    Black Bear - ***
    Minari - *** 1/2


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  5. #67430
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    Hopefully something that ensures I don't ever have to suffer his unfunny ass in another movie again.

    Just Watched
    Nothing Until Black Widow

    Currently Playing | Played
    Tom Claney's Breakpoint ★★★½

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    Mandalorian (Favreau) ★★½
    Jack Ryan (S2) ★★½

    Currently Reading | Read
    Howard Stern Comes Again (Stern)


    Thoughts / Youtube / Film Diary

    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies

  6. #67431
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Lazlo (view post)
    Fun game: Jump on Letterboxd and figure out the most popular film from each of the last ten years that you haven't seen.

    Me:
    2018 - The Cloverfield Paradox
    2017 - Kingsmen: The Golden Circle
    2016 - The Secret Life of Pets
    2015 - The Visit
    2014 - Frank
    2013 - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    2012 - Sinister
    2011 - The Intouchables
    2010 - Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
    2009 - Mr. Nobody
    I think I've seen almost every movie that was released in 2012...

    2018- Ready Player One
    2017- The Shape of Water
    2016 - Your Name.
    2015 - Carol
    2014 - Paddington
    2013 - Enemy
    2012 - Frances Ha
    2011 - Crazy, Stupid, Love
    2010 - Easy A
    2009 - Fantastic Mr. Fox

    Just Watched
    Nothing Until Black Widow

    Currently Playing | Played
    Tom Claney's Breakpoint ★★★½

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    Mandalorian (Favreau) ★★½
    Jack Ryan (S2) ★★½

    Currently Reading | Read
    Howard Stern Comes Again (Stern)


    Thoughts / Youtube / Film Diary

    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies

  7. #67432
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Not a fan.

  8. #67433
    Quote Quoting Lazlo (view post)
    Fun game: Jump on Letterboxd and figure out the most popular film from each of the last ten years that you haven't seen.
    2009 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    2010 - Toy Story 3
    2011 - Captain America: The First Avenger
    2012 - Silver Linings Playbook
    2013 - Iron Man 3
    2014 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    2015 - Avengers: Age of Ultron
    2016 - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
    2017 - The Shape of Water
    2018 - Black Panther

  9. #67434
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    2018: Black Panther
    2017: The Meyerowitz Stories
    2016: The Handmaiden
    2015: Spectre
    2014: What We Do in the Shadows
    2013: Monsters University
    2012: Skyfall
    2011: Crazy, Stupid, Love
    2010: True Grit
    2009: Fantastic Mr. Fox

  10. #67435
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    And now lets' identify each poster's biggest offenders

    Lazlo - The Intouchables
    Isaac - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    TGM - What We Do in the Shadows

    Just Watched
    Nothing Until Black Widow

    Currently Playing | Played
    Tom Claney's Breakpoint ★★★½

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    Mandalorian (Favreau) ★★½
    Jack Ryan (S2) ★★½

    Currently Reading | Read
    Howard Stern Comes Again (Stern)


    Thoughts / Youtube / Film Diary

    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies

  11. #67436
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    2017: Call Me By Your Name
    2016: Moonlight
    2015: Inside Out
    2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel
    2013: The Selfish Giant
    2012: Intouchables

    I'm doing this wrong, I can't find any further back. Damn innavigable site.

  12. #67437

  13. #67438
    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    Off the top of my head, a handful of directors that make the movies that they want, and still have box office success without studio involvement:

    Scorsese
    Wes Anderson
    Quentin Tarantino
    Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
    Putting aside the issue of whether or not complete artistic freedom is even possible, much less desirable (after all, I gather Iñárritu actually wanted to make 21 Grams), I think part of what I find dubious about holding up even undeniably talented mainstream filmmakers like Scorsese, the Andersons, Fincher, and Tarantino as paragons of artistic integrity is the unspoken ideology lurking behind the discussion--the implication being that money and publicity are not just desirable but necessary for artistic creation to occur in the first place, and that making films for a mass audience (the "real" people) is inherently more noble than making what Grouchy earlier referred to as "special interest" films. By this logic, directors like Costa, Reygadas, Jean-Luc Godard, Hong Sangsoo, Hou Hsiao-hsien, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul are all perverse underachievers for not trying to make bigger-budget films that can play in multiplexes.
    Just because...
    The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006) cold
    Asako I & II (Hamaguchi Ryusuke, 2018) mild
    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Underworld by Don DeLillo


    The (New) World

  14. #67439
    Winston* Classic Winston*'s Avatar
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    2008 - The Incredible Hulk
    2009 - 500 Days of Summer
    2010 - Easy A
    2011 - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    2012 - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    2013 - Frozen
    2014 - Whiplash
    2015 - The Martian
    2016 - Manchester by the Sea
    2017- Call Me By Your Name
    2018 - Annhiliation


    Bolded the ones I'm actually interested in seeing.

  15. #67440
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    I think a few moments in Wolf really stuck in my craw. Like when Jordan starts insulting Chandler's character as soon as he learned he couldn't buy the guy. And when Scorsese holds the long shot of Jordan hitting his wife. The dual emotions during that first big phone call at the penny stocks, when I'm torn because my admiration of someone who's extremely good at what they do (always good cinematic meat) brushes right up against how objectively terrible he is in that moment. And the final image, for sure. Maybe that extremely long speech that basically sums up how, at that point, Jordan is biologically incapable of not being an excessive monster.

  16. #67441
    2018: Black Panther (I've no real interest in this in addition to being wary of essentialism, though a friend of mine said it was fun)
    2017: Baby Driver (this looks like it might be passably entertaining but I'm in no hurry)
    2016: Arrival (I prefer his early, funny movies)
    2015: Max Mad: Fury Road (I haven't seen the first three yet)
    2014: Interstellar (Nolan sux)
    2013: Prisoners (see 2016)
    2012: The Avengers (I'm not seven years old)
    2011: Captain America: The First Avenger (see previous)
    2010: Toy Story 3 (I haven't seen Toy Story 2, not really a big Pixar guy anyway)
    2009: Watchmen (seriously, I've got shit to do; I'm not gonna bother with this crap)
    Last edited by baby doll; 04-11-2018 at 04:03 AM.
    Just because...
    The Holiday (Nancy Meyers, 2006) cold
    Asako I & II (Hamaguchi Ryusuke, 2018) mild
    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946) mild

    The last book I read was...
    Underworld by Don DeLillo


    The (New) World

  17. #67442
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    2017 - Spider-Man: Homecoming (#7)
    2016 - The Lobster (#9)
    2015 - Ex Machina (#4)
    2014 - 22 Jump Street (#16)
    2013 - Spring Breakers (#8)
    2012 - The Hunger Games (#5)

    Need an account to go beyond that, I think.

  18. #67443
    Winston* Classic Winston*'s Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dead & Messed Up (view post)
    2017 - Spider-Man: Homecoming (#7)
    2016 - The Lobster (#9)
    2015 - Ex Machina (#4)
    2014 - 22 Jump Street (#16)
    2013 - Spring Breakers (#8)
    2012 - The Hunger Games (#5)

    Need an account to go beyond that, I think.
    See Isaac's post above. Also, you should def see Ex Machina. You'd dig it .

  19. #67444
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    (I'm not seven years old))
    I will not take the bait, I will not take the bait....

  20. #67445
    2007 - Lars and the Real Girl (23)
    2008 - Bronson (20)
    2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine (16)
    2010 - Harry Potter Second to Last One (8)
    2011 - Harry Potter Last One (3)
    2012 - The Perks of Being a Wallflower (8)
    2013 - Man of Steel (11)
    2014 - The Imitation Game (16)
    2015 - Room (8)
    2016 - Moonlight (4)
    2017- Call Me By Your Name (10)

    Bolded the ones I'm actually interested in seeing.
    Last 10 Movies Seen
    (90+ = canonical, 80-89 = brilliant, 70-79 = strongly recommended, 60-69 = good, 50-59 = mixed, 40-49 = below average with some good points, 30-39 = poor, 20-29 = bad, 10-19 = terrible, 0-9 = soul-crushingly inept in every way)

    El
    (1973) 70
    The Day After
    (1983
    ) 63
    Duck, You Sucker (1971) 68
    Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 71
    Noriko’s Dinner Party
    (2005) 61
    The Third Murder (2017) 56

    /Audition
    (1999) 85

    /Toy Story
    (1995) 65
    Vice (2018) 57
    The Counterfeit Traitor (1962) 62

    Stuff at Letterboxd
    Listening Habits at LastFM

  21. #67446
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    To take The Wolf of Wall Street as an example, as an ambivalent celebration of douchey excess, it's conceivably the most entertaining thing Scorsese's made since the early '90s, but I wouldn't describe it as especially serious or uncompromising; even the unpleasantness of the central character is mitigated to a large extent by DiCapprio's charismatic performance (which thankfully does without the sort of Method grandstanding he's been wallowing in since the early 2000s, seemingly with Scorsese's encouragement). In other words, it's a fun film but not one that sticks in your craw.
    This is actually one of my favorite things to talk about. Scorsese took some flak for Goodfellas and Casino because his energetic directing style seemed to glorify the Cosa Nostra. But the thing is, his cinema always develops from an insular point of view. This is true even in movies where the main character doesn't exert his power over others like Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and After Hours. The directing style mimicks what the protagonist wants and gets out of life. My pet theory is that he developed The Wolf of Wall Street consciously as a litmus test. Do you find Jordan Belfort's lifestyle appealing? I will pull every rabbit out of my hat to make it so. And he does have scenes that sticked in my craw. I'll never forget the closing shot of Wolf, filled with what's basically a movie theater audience wanting to be Jordan.

    Quote Quoting baby doll
    Luis Buñuel has a story in his autobiography about meeting Nicholas Ray in Mexico in the 1950s, shortly after Ray made his first big-budget film. Buñuel suggested that Ray would feel freer making a film in Mexico for half the cost, but Ray responded it would be impossible because everyone in Hollywood would think he was finished professionally. And I suspect that Scorsese's position today is even more constricting than Ray's in the '50s. Again, that's not to say that he's a bad filmmaker or that he's no longer capable of making worthwhile films; I just think the heroic mystique that gets attached to him is unwarranted.
    As a side comment, My Last Whisper by Luis Buñuel is one book that none that considers himself a film buff should skip.
    Last edited by Grouchy; 04-11-2018 at 07:38 AM.

  22. #67447
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    (after all, I gather Iñárritu actually wanted to make 21 Grams)
    Thank you for this. 21 Grams is one of the most emotionally phony films I've ever seen - on the level of Oscar Winner Crash.

    Personally, I love Jonathan Glazer, Roy Andersson, Lucrecia Martel, Hong Sangsoo, Gaspar Noé, Andrei Tarkovski, Ingmar Bergman, Peter Greenaway, Wong Kar Wai, Eric Rohmer, Mike Leigh, John fucking Cassavettes, Werner Herzog, heck, even Paul Thomas Anderson - those are all "special interest" filmmakers in my book. I confess I've been too narrative-driven as a person to explore this branch of cinema even further. And I'm actually ashamed to admit that I haven't seen any Weerasethakul or Hou Hsiao-hsien film for this reason.
    Last edited by Grouchy; 04-11-2018 at 07:33 AM.

  23. #67448
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Baby doll.....comes in with the rare super disingenuous posting today.

    Just Watched
    Nothing Until Black Widow

    Currently Playing | Played
    Tom Claney's Breakpoint ★★★½

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    Mandalorian (Favreau) ★★½
    Jack Ryan (S2) ★★½

    Currently Reading | Read
    Howard Stern Comes Again (Stern)


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    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies

  24. #67449
    Screenwriter
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    2008 - Bronson
    2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine
    2010 - Blue Valentine
    2011 - Shame
    2012 - Les Miserables
    2013 - Only God Forgives
    2014 - The Maze Runner
    2015 - The Danish Girl
    2016 - Captain Fantastic
    2017 - Kingsman: The Golden Circle
    2018 - The Cloverfield Paradox
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  25. #67450
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
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    2018 - The Cloverfield Paradox
    2017 - Lady Bird
    2016 - La La Land
    2015 - Inside Out
    2014 - Whiplash
    2013 - The Wolf of Wall Street
    2012 - Django Unchained
    2011 - Harry Potter and the Whatever of Whatever, Part Whatever
    2010 - Shutter Island
    2009 - Inglourious Basterds

    edit - Looking over it, my blind spots are pretty obvious and consistent. I don't care much about whatever Scorsese is up to these days, I don't care about Tarantino in general (I did see Hateful Eight, though), and out of curiosity I went back a couple more years and sure enough, it would be another Pixar film for each of those years (never been a Pixar fan but y'all know that). I was going to watch those Damien Chazelle movies, though. Just never got around to them. And I'm still catching up on 2017 films (Lady Bird is on my list).

    Miss me with that Harry Potter nonsense.
    Last edited by Stay Puft; 04-11-2018 at 04:31 PM.
    Giving up in 2020. Who cares.

    De Djess (Alice Rohrwacher) **
    That One Day (Crystal Moselle) **½
    Ghost Strata (Ben Rivers) ***
    Now, at Last! (Ben Rivers) **
    Blood Quantum (Jeff Barnaby) **½

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