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    The Handmaid's Tale (Season 1)



    Super excited for this one. I'm currently halfway through the book. After watching the trailer, I'm glad I'm reading it first, since the show seems to bluntly state certain things that are left for the protagonist to slowly discover in the source material.
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    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
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    First episode was excellent. Tense, smartly edited, drawing from different parts of the book to take advantage of television pacing. Elizabeth Moss is riveting throughout and Samira Wiley is perfectly cast. More perplexing is the casting of Yvonne Strahovski in the role of Serena Joy, seemingly far too young for the role. (By comparison, the movie version had the character played by Faye Dunaway when she was nearly 50.) As widely discussed, the story is timely, to say the least, and frightening in its relevance. I hope this series gets a lot of mainstream discussion, as it looks to be effective in laying bare the cruelty and the danger of Bible Belt ideology.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

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    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    More perplexing is the casting of Yvonne Strahovski in the role of Serena Joy, seemingly far too young for the role. (By comparison, the movie version had the character played by Faye Dunaway when she was nearly 50.)
    It's not just her, no? Robert Duvall was considerably older than Joseph Fiennes when he did the movie. I think there's something interesting to presenting this young vision of the Waterfords. For me at least, Offred and Serena being closer in age highlights the idea of them both being treated as property (just in different ways), because it doesn't come across as another the-old-seeking-a-youthful-substitute scenario. There's a trapped envy in Strahovski's Serena that's about something else entirely.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    It's not just her, no? Robert Duvall was considerably older than Joseph Fiennes when he did the movie. I think there's something interesting to presenting this young vision of the Waterfords. For me at least, Offred and Serena being closer in age highlights the idea of them both being treated as property (just in different ways), because it doesn't come across as another the-old-seeking-a-youthful-substitute scenario. There's a trapped envy in Strahovski's Serena that's about something else entirely.
    Interesting take. I'll consider that as things play out. Totally agree with you about hoping they don't extend this beyond one season. I put 'Season 1' in the thread title, really hoping it wasn't necessary.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    For me at least, Offred and Serena being closer in age highlights the idea of them both being treated as property (just in different ways), because it doesn't come across as another the-old-seeking-a-youthful-substitute scenario. There's a trapped envy in Strahovski's Serena that's about something else entirely.
    In time, this has proven to be true. After the initial clash with my expectations, this character has worked wonderfully within the world they have created.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

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    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    In time, this has proven to be true. After the initial clash with my expectations, this character has worked wonderfully within the world they have created.
    By the way, Serena Joy might be favorite character of the show, actually. What a fascinating woman, who seems to have willingly betrayed her own autonomy because she put an utmost confidence in the benevolence of so-called good virtuous men, only to discover too late that "men never change" and she's only made it easier for what she considers to be sins to run rampant.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  7. #7
    How do you feel about the show in comparison with the book?

    (I don't think I can watch this because I don't want Hulu TV images in my head whenever I think of the novel.)

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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    How do you feel about the show in comparison with the book?

    (I don't think I can watch this because I don't want Hulu TV images in my head whenever I think of the novel.)
    Too early to make a definitive call, but, in general, it's pretty consistent, with many stretches of dialogue lifted directly from the book. It seems to me there's more swearing thrown in than Atwood uses, but nothing that really seems out of place. The balancing of Offred's interactions with her inner monologue (through voiceover) is done effectively, not leaving us inside her head for too long, but also allowing her to editorialize various moments. What might be jarring is that the slow discovery of her new world and circumstances from the book is a bit more blunt in the show when you can immediately take in the men with machine guns, etc.

    I'm enjoying it very much, but wanting to hold on to the pure reading experience is certainly a valid feeling as well. I finished the book a few days ago and it's a remarkable read.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

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    The relevance of it is almost too on the nose, and obviously the premise has been mined by so many derivations since that built upon it, so I think this adaptation lives and dies in how effective the little moments are performed. I watched two episodes last night and those instances are executed brilliantly (I'm talking about stuff like Offred's tasting a cookie, or Serena's silent sit after the first insemination ceremony, or Ofglen's careful reveal to Offred).

    Man, I really hope this isn't a continuing series, though. The universal critical acclaim, coupled with the fact that this is the first time a Hulu show gets this level of mainstream notice, pretty much ensures that they're gonna be willing to greenlight a second season. But I hope the 10 episodes cover the entire novel and that's that.

    P.S. Ann Dowd is a god.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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    Top 3 creepiest scenes in the first two eps:

    [
    ]
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  11. #11
    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    Top 3 creepiest scenes in the first two eps:

    [
    ]
    [
    ]

    Damn this is bleak.

    Can someone defend the song choices in this show? Almost exclusively at the end of each episode, but I find them too on the nose at best (You don't own me) or jarring and undercutting of the show's tone at worst (whatever the hell was playing at the end of episode 3).

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    Well this should be interesting ... second season is apparently happening.


    Entertainment Weekly: How involved were you in the series? Did you collaborate much with showrunner Bruce Miller?

    Margaret Atwood: We talked a lot. I think it will be more involving in the second season because we will be in uncharted territories so more invention will have to take place.

    Is that exciting for you?

    Yes, it is. We did a special edition of the audio book, which concludes with a Q&A session with the professor. He explores some of the edges of things in his answers, written by me. That will be interesting but I can’t predict what we will do.
    Link
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  13. #13
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    I finished episode 3. Horrifying. Elizabeth Moss is almost guaranteed an Emmy nom, I think. Alexis Bledel probably too.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    I finished episode 3. Horrifying. Elizabeth Moss is almost guaranteed an Emmy nom, I think. Alexis Bledel probably too.
    I watched this episode last night and I think it's best one so far. Holy crap, [
    ]
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  15. #15
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    I'm pretty sure being jarring is the intent. They're on the nose, yes, because they pick songs whose lyrics reflect the given theme of the episode, but expressed in exuberant pop songs that are outwardly expressive in the way the women cannot be. You're kinda repressed with them for the whole episode in this sustained tone and then you get the release as you're released from watching.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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    Yeah, the fixed shot from inside the van as it drives away is paralyzing.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
    Movie Theater Diary

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    Apart from the story being captivating and the acting being solid, I really like the way the show is shot and edited. Lots of long takes that allow the tension and the horror to build. The cinematography has a very ... well ... cinematic feel, I guess. I feel like you could put it on a big screen and it would hold up well. Boy, they really like their severe backlight streaming through windows though, don't they?
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  18. #18
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    I love that every episode is leavened with a bit of necessary rebellious streak to go against the heavy oppression, whether through the story/character beats or aesthetic choices like songs. Whereas I left the past three episodes a bit shell-shocked (in a good way) though, the more explicit way of that streak in this one actually has me in tears. Wasn't expecting it.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
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  19. #19
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    Regarding episode 5:

    [
    ]

    I didn't mind the character choice from a writing perspective, but I wasn't crazy about the way it was executed. Seemed oddly cartoonish with the Gilead police going full Keystone Cop.

    Rest of the episode was pretty strong. Moss seems destined for an Emmy.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  20. #20
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    Finally got to watch the finale last night. I burst out laughing when Moira [
    ]. It's absolutely fascinating that this was shot and completed last year.

    I know it was already announced that there will be a second season and that it will have brand new material, but it's still really interesting that they ended the season the same way as the book, rather than crafting its own. This means this is a case of a show turning a book's ambiguous ending into a cliffhanger retroactively and providing a continuation of it, without really changing it. I imagine there are a number of books you can do this for.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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    I still have the last two episodes to watch, but I am a little perplexed by news that Alexis Bledel is going to be a series regular next season.

    [
    ]
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  22. #22
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    I can think of several possibilities. It could be Mayday's doing, or has to do with the Jezebels. Open this after you finish the season, but: [
    ].
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  23. #23
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    Finished this last night... chiming into say that, wow, give Elizabeth Moss ALL THE AWARDS. She had me choking back tears on so many occasions. Her breakdown in the car after Serena took her to 'see' her daughter was simply incredible. The combination and culmination of everything that came up to that moment all came exploding outwards... grief, pleading sadness, bitterness, and that fierce rage just took my breath away. Beautiful work.
    ‎The severed arm perfectly acquitted itself, because of the simplicity of its wishes and its total lack of doubt.

  24. #24
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    I haven't seen this yet but I really want to. Since number8 has seen both this and The Leftovers, I'm curious to hear his thoughts on who should get an Emmy win: Elizabeth Moss or Carrie Coon.
    "We eventually managed to find them near Biskupin, where demonstrations of prehistoric farming are organized. These oxen couldn't be transported to anywhere else, so we had to built the entire studio around them. A scene that lasted twenty-something seconds took us a year and a half to prepare."

  25. #25
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    Man. I'd personally go Coon but I think most would vote Moss. It's the more "awardsy" performance for sure.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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