Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 36

Thread: Out Among The Directors

  1. #1
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052

    Out Among The Directors

    Or simply put, a thread about my exploration of director filmographys. I spent last year trying to do that as best as I could, and I would love to play catch up. Plus I was endlessly bugged by certain posters about certain things, such as why I'm woefully behind on seeing certain movies, and of course the fact that I don't post reviews here, although that can be blamed on me trying to endlessly draw traffic towards my blog, which is a huge pet project of mine despite earning nothing from said venture. So um, yeah here's a review. Wahoo.

    Hard Eight (1996, Paul Thomas Anderson)



    With sparse and concise opening credits, Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight (1996) is a rather straightforward film debut for a college washout. Its also a great one, even if some do not think so, an engaging and well crafted movie that owns a bit of inspiration to the Jean-Pierre Melville 1956 classic Bob le flambeur, another movie about a gambler who is forced into a hard situation by the people he cares about. Where as in that film one such people betrays him, in Hard Eight elder gambler Sydney benefits from aiding young John and Clementine, two people in love. Or at least they think its love-after all they dwell in Reno where drunk people get wedded all the time. Its too close to Vegas.

    Anderson utilizes numerous usual tricks of the trade, such as a nice tracking shot that follows Sydney through a casino room that, as most casino rooms are, brightly lit by false light yet surrounded in darkness. There are no windows and time passes without notice unless you have a watch and finally tire of losing your money at the slot machines or get busted at blackjack and poker. Its interesting how John seems to prosper, where as Sydney in one scene featuring a cameo by Philip Seymour Hoffman, as a crude, taunting and foul mouthed tourist who bests Sydney at "Hard Eight." Losing two grand, especially to someone who knows nothing of Vegas and Reno customs, who has little respect for elders and the rules, has to hurt.



    What a cast this film has: the always excellent Philip Baker Hall,; the underrated John C. Reilly, who handles some of this movie's bits of humor well; gorgeous Gwyneth Paltrow, and cool as ice Samuel L. Jackson. I'll admit I felt a little awful when I laughed at Hall's nasty "Hooker school" retort to Clementine, yet its an odd moment amongst a set up gone horribly wrong. Even though I saw certain events coming, I rather liked the final scene. I'm not sure its how I would have ended the movie, but this is why I'm not a Hollywood director and Paul Thomas Anderson has a huge fanbase and Oscar nominations.

    Of course the reactions to my liking of this movie are that its not a particularly good film, and that I'm in for better things to come. I'm aware of this based on how much praise PTA's other movies have received, however I still loved Hard Eight and enjoyed it as a great first film (if you don't count his short films, which I kind of don't just because they are hard to get ahold of). I do look forward to watching the rest of his filmography, particularly since some of them are also available on Netflix Instant Viewing.


  2. #2
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    IMDB.com's trivia section confirmed for me that PTA was indeed inspired by Bob le flambeur. And that a different ending was to be shot, although after reading about that ending I much prefer the one that was chosen instead.

  3. #3
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    27,670
    The best has yet to come.

    Midsommar - ***
    The Mustang - ***
    Annabelle Comes Home - ** 1/2


    twitter

  4. #4
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Neo-Ohio
    Posts
    11,933
    I didn't know there was a PTA flick I hadn't heard of. Me fail.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator dreamdead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,752
    Nice review, Madman. Just watched Hard Eight because of this jogged my mind and I aim to go through some of Hoffman's filmography that I've neglected over the years.

    This one is interesting in that it feels totally quintessentially '90s in theme and mood. This foregrounds Anderson's interest in the father/son relationship that underscores his whole career (with PDL being the exception), but the script doesn't quite convince me that Johnny is in any way interesting. He's a little too sadsack and puppy dog to Sydney to be of much interest. And while some of that is certainly intentional and secures symbolic meaning, the film suffers and lags whenever it abandons Sydney's perspective, making the crosscutting during the finale a little too limp. The film is interesting when it finally answers why Sydney keeps extending himself for Johnny, and in the awkward love triangle between those two and Clementine (who's unfortunately a little too one-note to be fascinating).

    Several of the Anderson tracking shots are fun--while you single out the casino sequence, I found the one-take follows of Sydney entering and exiting the hotel room nice in how they ratchet up tension by withholding easy progression of space. This was also a typical Anderson film where bit parts (Hoffman, the hostage) could be interesting movies in their own right. But Hall owns this film. I wish it had explored more varied thematic terrain, but it's a good entryway into his more challenging material.

    I've got Bob le flambeur DVRed and am curious if this will rise or fall in esteem once I view it. Also: Sarah mentioned interest in watching Boogie Nights since she's never seen it. Trying to decide whether to do that or Magnolia as a rewatch for myself...
    Ant-Man and the Wasp - 5
    Hereditary - 7
    Won't You Be My Neighbor? - 7.5
    The Tale - 8

  6. #6
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    Quote Quoting dreamdead (view post)
    Nice review, Madman. Just watched Hard Eight because of this jogged my mind and I aim to go through some of Hoffman's filmography that I've neglected over the years.
    Thanks!

    This one is interesting in that it feels totally quintessentially '90s in theme and mood. This foregrounds Anderson's interest in the father/son relationship that underscores his whole career (with PDL being the exception), but the script doesn't quite convince me that Johnny is in any way interesting. He's a little too sadsack and puppy dog to Sydney to be of much interest. And while some of that is certainly intentional and secures symbolic meaning, the film suffers and lags whenever it abandons Sydney's perspective, making the crosscutting during the finale a little too limp. The film is interesting when it finally answers why Sydney keeps extending himself for Johnny, and in the awkward love triangle between those two and Clementine (who's unfortunately a little too one-note to be fascinating).
    The major reason I liked Johnny and Sydney's relationship is that its as much a partnership as it is Sydney acting as Johnny's father. The father figure mentality is something Sydney sticks with because maybe in the end its what he knows and does best. Its funny how in the conversation between Sydney and Clementine that only then does Sydney mention he is divorced and has kids-at least I remember him saying he has kids. Clementine works better as a character when she's interacting with Sydney, so I do agree that the she is a bit thin as a character. I did like the cross cutting, but that storyline felt weak compared to Sydney being forced to deal with Samuel L. Jackson's character, who I should have mentioned in my review. Hard Eight reminded why I love Jackson as an actor-when he stops playing himself and just "disappears" into a role, something that he really doesn't do anymore. Which is a shame.

    Several of the Anderson tracking shots are fun--while you single out the casino sequence, I found the one-take follows of Sydney entering and exiting the hotel room nice in how they ratchet up tension by withholding easy progression of space. This was also a typical Anderson film where bit parts (Hoffman, the hostage) could be interesting movies in their own right. But Hall owns this film. I wish it had explored more varied thematic terrain, but it's a good entryway into his more challenging material.
    Yeah I have a good feeling that PTA dives into way more complex material in his other films. And yes I did enjoy the other shots, which were really impressive too. There are not too many film debuts where you see a director being that comfortable and in command of the camera and what they want to do onscreen.

    I've got Bob le flambeur DVRed and am curious if this will rise or fall in esteem once I view it. Also: Sarah mentioned interest in watching Boogie Nights since she's never seen it. Trying to decide whether to do that or Magnolia as a rewatch for myself...
    Despite giving Bob le flambeur and Hard Eight the same rating (95/100) I slightly prefer Bob le flambeur, which is a classic Melville film and a new favorite of mine. I viewed it last year and loved it. I can't wait to get to Boogie Nights and Magnolia.

  7. #7
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    Well its time to bump this thread, and who better to focus on then a new favorite director of mine, Ben Wheatley? I've viewed all of his major theatrical releases over the span of two years, and my avatar is from his latest, A Field In England. First up is the beginning, the movie that started it all...

    Down Terrace (2009)



    Although a bit rocky at times, I had to remember that this was Wheatley's debut film, and thus was prone to errors and sat at the mercy of a first time director trying to find his way. The humor in this film is probably the strongest out of all of Wheatley's movies, yet it carries that dark element that has presented itself in each of his films. Bleak humor is very English, and that is who populates all of his films: people from the United Kingdom, some who appear in most of his movies or at least more than once. You have Robert Hill and Robin Hill as father and son criminals trying to run an enterprise while attempting to figure out who might be the rat that caused the dad to be jailed. From this point on, things spiral rather quickly out of control and a large amount of violence ensues.

    It is this element of violence which populates every single one of Wheatley's movies-in fact you could say he is obsessed with horrible things happening to people. The murders in this film are darkly humorous, and I actually found many parts of the movie to be surprisingly funny. However this film does not have much in common with say, the work of Guy Ritchie, or even Quentin Tarentino, because Wheatley shoots this movie as if it is a documentary. Such camerawork perhaps speaks to the film being lower budget, yet I think its also Wheatley wanting us, the viewer, to get in closer and properly examine all of the characters. Their motivations-love, fear, paranoia, hate, distrust, all mixed together in an engaging and interesting storyline that has a rather brutal finale. I dug the final scene, and while this film isn't as deep or as great as his other films it is still a well crafted start to a career that has been rather notable.

    Thoughts on the ending, spoiled of course:

    [
    ]

  8. #8
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    Heat (1995, Michael Mann)



    Using Moby for an intense crime saga set in Los Angeles would feel out of place for most directors. Then again, Michael Mann is in a class all by himself, and his timeless epic Heat (1995) showcases Mann at the height of his filmaking talents. It helps that he also assembles one of the best casts ever, headlined by Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, finally sharing the big screen together. Each two sides of the same coin, each reflecting not only man's nature but the symbotic relationship between cop and criminal. The slow paced, well rounded dinner scene properly reveals how each man thinks.

    Vincent Hanna: What are you, a monk?

    Neil McCauley: I have a woman.

    Vincent Hanna: What do you tell her?

    Neil McCauley: I tell her I'm a salesman.

    Vincent Hanna: So then, if you spot me coming around that corner... you just gonna walk out on this woman? Not say good bye?

    Neil McCauley: That's the discipline.

    Vincent Hanna: That's pretty vacant, you know.

    Neil McCauley: Yeah, it is what it is. It's that or we both better go do something else, pal.

    Vincent Hanna: I don't know how to do anything else.

    Neil McCauley: Neither do I.

    Vincent Hanna: I don't much want to either.

    Neil McCauley: Neither do I.



    Naturally, both men and the others in their life still have attachments, anyways. What I find remarkable about Heat is how Mann spends almost three hours making the viewer care about what happens to the criminals as well as the cops. Sure other films have done that before and after, yet Heat really digs into actual lives, something that Jean-Pierre Melville and John Woo have done with their own crime films as well. That loose code of honor among thieves is even present, which further explains how events spiral out of control later on.

    Oh and that LA downtown shootout is amazing. Lots of bullets flying, tons of violence, and Val Kilmer mowing down cops in broad daylight. Having the film's centerpiece appear so visible is another aspect of Heat that I admire. Sure the film comes off too cold at times, yet its the quieter film scenes that let the viewer in. Especially when De Niro's Neil falls in love, set to that alluring nightime LA backdrop that would be at home in a panting. For me though the film's suspenseful hide and seek finale is my favorite part, if only because it reflects that dinner scene all too well.

    "I told you I was never going back." Boy 1995 was one hell of a year. Heat is an example of the best that year had to offer in film. Too bad Mann will never top it, although maybe that's okay. Some art is hard to even replicate, nevermind besting something a man worked decades to unleash.

  9. #9
    Whoa, sweet thread necromancy, MM, and nice write-up on Heat; I mean, I've only seen it once about 16 years ago, but I remember it being quite good, so I might need to rewatch it fairly soon-ish. Which Mann film do you think you'll review next, and will you post a version of this thread on the Corrie as well?

  10. #10
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    Quote Quoting StuSmallz (view post)
    Whoa, sweet thread necromancy, MM, and nice write-up on Heat; I mean, I've only seen it once about 16 years ago, but I remember it being quite good, so I might need to rewatch it fairly soon-ish. Which Mann film do you think you'll review next, and will you post a version of this thread on the Corrie as well?
    I already want to see it again. I quit matchcut for a while and only came back when RT died.

    I should review Thief. I have a Manhunter review on my blog already. I already have two movie review threads on the Corrie so I might just throw these write ups into the latest one I have.

  11. #11
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    32,795
    Heat is Mann's only good movie.

    Just Watched
    Avengers Endgame ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★

    Currently Playing | Played
    The Division 2 ★★★★★

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    n/a

    Currently Reading | Read
    Fever Dream (Douglas Preseton & Lincoln Child)


    Thoughts / Youtube / Film Diary

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

  12. #12
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    8,651
    Nah, The Insider begs to differ.

  13. #13
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    Manhunter, Thief all say Duke is wrong. I need to see The Insider. Also I will defend Last of the Mohicans endlessly.

  14. #14
    Quote Quoting MadMan (view post)
    I already want to see it again. I quit matchcut for a while and only came back when RT died.

    I should review Thief. I have a Manhunter review on my blog already. I already have two movie review threads on the Corrie so I might just throw these write ups into the latest one I have.
    Quote Quoting MadMan (view post)
    Manhunter, Thief all say Duke is wrong. I need to see The Insider. Also I will defend Last of the Mohicans endlessly.
    Never was really a fan of Mohicans (it just feels so... hollow and Hollywood), but, while I still need to see Manhunter & The Insider, Thief is really good, and I'd throw Collateral ​in the mix as well as far as the good Manns go. Anyway, if you do end up posting this material on the Corrie as well, I'll support it there to, and I'm sure a certain evil ​Mann fann would enjoy seeing it there as well...

    ; )

  15. #15
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    32,795
    Collateral is passable because of Cruise and Foxx. But really, when was the last time you (MC) saw any of these movies? Or sat down and said, I'm going to watch Collateral today.

    Just Watched
    Avengers Endgame ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★

    Currently Playing | Played
    The Division 2 ★★★★★

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    n/a

    Currently Reading | Read
    Fever Dream (Douglas Preseton & Lincoln Child)


    Thoughts / Youtube / Film Diary

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

  16. #16
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    8,651
    I get you, Public Enemies and Miami Vice were bad and nothing about Blackhat looks very appealing.

    But it's not true that he only has one good movie. The aughts did not find him in proper form.

  17. #17
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    I loved Public Enemies. And I have seen (and own it) Collateral at least 4 times. Its one of his best films.

  18. #18
    Drunk in a spaceship MadMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    A land of corn and technology
    Posts
    19,052
    Quote Quoting StuSmallz (view post)
    Never was really a fan of Mohicans (it just feels so... hollow and Hollywood), but, while I still need to see Manhunter & The Insider, Thief is really good, and I'd throw Collateral ​in the mix as well as far as the good Manns go. Anyway, if you do end up posting this material on the Corrie as well, I'll support it there to, and I'm sure a certain evil ​Mann fann would enjoy seeing it there as well...

    ; )
    Keep in mind I have seen Mohicans numerous times on VHS. It was the first Mann I ever watched. And yeah considering he and I got into it over my lazy approach to review and essay writing, I should post it over there at some point.

  19. #19
    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Collateral is passable because of Cruise and Foxx. But really, when was the last time you (MC) saw any of these movies? Or sat down and said, I'm going to watch Collateral today.
    I think about rewatching Collateral plenty, yo; it was a taut, claustrophobic, stylish urban crime thriller, with a trail-blazing digital visual aesthetic, and an antagonist with a unique, intriguingly nihilistic worldview, which facilitates a rare performance from Cruise where he actually disappears into a particular role, instead of just doing another variation of Tom Cruise: International Superstar. It may not be as ambitious in scope as something like Heat, but any further complications to the film would likely render it a much less tight experience, which is one of its strongpoints in the first place, and one of the main reasons why I've always liked it.
    Quote Quoting MadMan (view post)
    Keep in mind I have seen Mohicans numerous times on VHS. It was the first Mann I ever watched. And yeah considering he and I got into it over my lazy approach to review and essay writing, I should post it over there at some point.
    You can do it, (Mad)man!

  20. #20
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    27,670
    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Collateral is passable because of Cruise and Foxx. But really, when was the last time you (MC) saw any of these movies? Or sat down and said, I'm going to watch Collateral today.
    I'd totally watch Collateral if I was channel surfing.

    Midsommar - ***
    The Mustang - ***
    Annabelle Comes Home - ** 1/2


    twitter

  21. #21
    The Last of the Mohicans is one of the Top 10 films ever made, so Mannís doing okay in my books.
    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)

    Like Someone in Love
    (2012) 56
    Timbuktu
    (2014
    ) 62
    The Changeling (1980) 65
    The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2019) 59
    Ida
    (2013) 65
    Nocturama (2016) 68

    Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days
    (2018) 45

    The Guns of Navarone
    (1961) 71
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) 65
    A Simple Favor (2018) 47

    Stuff at Letterboxd
    Listening Habits at LastFM

  22. #22

    Out Among The Directors

    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Heat is Mann's only good movie.
    And I get it in the neck for not liking Marvel enough!

    1. The Last of the Mohicans
    2. Heat
    3. The Insider

    All brilliant.

    4. Collateral
    5. Manhunter
    6. Ali
    7. Miami Vice

    All solid. Iíd take all of those 7 over every Nolan
    film except Memento, which would slot in at 3.

    Public Enemies is average. Blackhat I donít like. Thief has been too long. The Keep I havenít seen.
    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)

    Like Someone in Love
    (2012) 56
    Timbuktu
    (2014
    ) 62
    The Changeling (1980) 65
    The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2019) 59
    Ida
    (2013) 65
    Nocturama (2016) 68

    Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days
    (2018) 45

    The Guns of Navarone
    (1961) 71
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) 65
    A Simple Favor (2018) 47

    Stuff at Letterboxd
    Listening Habits at LastFM

  23. #23
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    32,795
    Quote Quoting transmogrifier (view post)
    And I get it in the neck for not liking Marvel enough!

    1. The Last of the Mohicans
    2. Heat
    3. The Insider

    All brilliant.

    4. Collateral
    5. Manhunter
    6. Ali
    7. Miami Vice

    All solid. Iíd take all of those 7 over every Nolan
    film except Memento, which would slot in at 3.

    Public Enemies is average. Blackhat I donít like. Thief has been too long. The Keep I havenít seen.
    I've only not seen Manhunter and Ali and it's been a very long time since I've seen TLofM. But damn, those movies nothing special. And ugly ugly films with the exception of Collateral. Blackhat was the worst movie of whatever year it came out. As was Public Enemies. That tips over Mann's filmography for me as he got lucky with Heat. Spielberg and Nolan never made the worst film of the year.

    Just Watched
    Avengers Endgame ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★

    Currently Playing | Played
    The Division 2 ★★★★★

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    n/a

    Currently Reading | Read
    Fever Dream (Douglas Preseton & Lincoln Child)


    Thoughts / Youtube / Film Diary

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

  24. #24
    1941 would like a word.
    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)

    Like Someone in Love
    (2012) 56
    Timbuktu
    (2014
    ) 62
    The Changeling (1980) 65
    The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2019) 59
    Ida
    (2013) 65
    Nocturama (2016) 68

    Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days
    (2018) 45

    The Guns of Navarone
    (1961) 71
    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) 65
    A Simple Favor (2018) 47

    Stuff at Letterboxd
    Listening Habits at LastFM

  25. #25
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    32,795
    Tu-fuckin-che

    Just Watched
    Avengers Endgame ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★

    Currently Playing | Played
    The Division 2 ★★★★★

    TV Show Currently Watching | Watched
    n/a

    Currently Reading | Read
    Fever Dream (Douglas Preseton & Lincoln Child)


    Thoughts / Youtube / Film Diary

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

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
An forum