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vjmorton

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Everything posted by vjmorton

  1. best line in film is regarding the 12 Commandments: "Which two did they take out." The joke is de facto stolen from Mel Brooks, but played absolutely straight, which makes it WAAAY funnier.
  2. In what sense of "attracted"? I suppose "crush" may answer that, but one is obliged to hope that others, especially those with whom one disagrees, aren't that ... one is tempted to say "not that shallow," but charity requires the accentuation of possibility. So let me say instead that I am confident in Mr. Hughes's critical sensibilities as being higher and more refined than such a vulgar reading.
  3. vjmorton

    The Witch (2015)

    Maybe that is exactly what the film "wanted to say."
  4. too lazy to look and see if all have been seconded, but ... I second L'ENFANT I second TREE OF THE WOODEN CLOGS I second MONSIEUR VINCENT I second WITNESS I second OF GODS AND MEN (surely that's been fifthed by now?) I second HADEWIJCH
  5. vjmorton

    Southpaw

    No ... in the dressing room beforehand. Then only Paulie is left in Rocky's corner for the actual fight and he just tells Rocky, "go kick his ass" -- which is NOT how to handle a Clubber Lang.
  6. One other thought that didn't fit well into replying to Steve. The (second-listed here) title ... it refers to a doctrine of contract law that the terms of a contract don't apply if they cannot be fulfilled because of exceptional cases that neither party can foresee. "Force Majeure" (obviously a French term, from Napoleonic code) is similar to, but slightly broader than, the Anglo-Saxon common-law "act of God" doctrine in that FM also includes what are obviously acts of men -- war, revolution, riot -- provided neither party contributed to them. What that has to do with the film should be clear enough if you've seen it.
  7. I never even had that problem because, as I said on Twitter, "when a man does something bad ... we don't talk about it and act around it ... that movie is THE LONELIEST PLANET; we talk about it and hash it out and the result is nauseating ... that movie is FORCE MAJEURE. As for the spoiltudinous points (which I just snipped) ... I think it was reasonably clear (certainly I instantly took it that way) that , which is why what happens at the end is exactly right (though obviously somewhat contrived ... the film is a symmetrical fairy tale about, among other things, ). Or to flesh that last out a bit ... Was it consistent with what she had been before? Arguably not, but then had the earlier [spoiler event] been consistent with what he had been? Not especially ... but that's the whole point. The exceptional case is, by definition, exceptional.
  8. vjmorton

    Snowpiercer

    Korean films are NOTORIOUS for wild tone shifts and the use of gore and cruelty in contexts that Westerners consider inappropriate. It's practically the defining feature of the country's cinema and exhibited by almost all its significant auteurs to at least some degree -- Kim Ji-woon, Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk, Im Kwon-taek, (here) Bong Joon-ho and lesser figures. I remember being at the Toronto Festival retrospective in 2002, one of the earliest contemporary ones of its size and breadth in the West, and, almost to a man, the folk there made that observation. This is another way to get at the point I was trying to make above regarding the utter conventionality of the film. How so ... how would something being typical of Korean cinema in a way that diverges from American and European norms means SNOWPIERCER would look conventional to anyone reading a conversation conducted in English language using the Latin alphabet. Indeed, why not the opposite? (Yes, I'm making the case for exoticism. I am aware of this. It is a Good Thing.)
  9. vjmorton

    Snowpiercer

    Korean films are NOTORIOUS for wild tone shifts and the use of gore and cruelty in contexts that Westerners consider inappropriate. It's practically the defining feature of the country's cinema and exhibited by almost all its significant auteurs to at least some degree -- Kim Ji-woon, Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk, Im Kwon-taek, (here) Bong Joon-ho and lesser figures. I remember being at the Toronto Festival retrospective in 2002, one of the earliest contemporary ones of its size and breadth in the West, and, almost to a man, the folk there made that observation. I would love to see the film as a critique of nihilism, even a popcorn one. I'm just not there with the film. I don't see how it could be more explicit -- pissed-offedness at God and revolutionism lead to the end of man.
  10. vjmorton

    Snowpiercer

    I posted the following on Twitter ... yesterday SNOWPIERCER (Bong, USA/S.Korea, 2014, 8) Didn't think much of Chris Evans, Tilda might be *too* good, the logic of the allegory would've been clearer if film ended one scene earlier (even so, c'mon ... what's gonna happen next), and too much of action is today's Parkinson's-operator-meets-Cuisinart-editor style ... BUT ... take away (almost) all of that (Tilda) ... and we'd been talking a year-best contender for me -- a film bursting with ideas and the proverbial Korean miles of brutal and self-conscious style (a specific music cue to a certain Kubrick film) -- when it has room to breathe, the editing is sensationally good. Also the progressively different looks of traincars (Skandies Scene FYC: the "school"), Song and Hurt and a taciturn Ivanov, the Nietzschean vision of society and eventually the universe, the critique of revolution, To get to Steven's ideological objections ... I guess I can't see the film as nihilistic in a bad way because I see revolution (and the specific act of blowing up the train) as itself as a form of nihilism ("let justice be done or the heavens fall," I said on the away home to the friend with whom I saw it), both absolutely and within the logic of the film. But then I also don't see Nietzsche as (merely) a nihilist but also the profoundest critic of nihilism (which in a phrase is almost exactly my reaction to SNOWPIERCER).
  11. vjmorton

    The Matrix

    BURN THE HERETIC!!!!
  12. vjmorton

    The Matrix

    Especially when you have overwhelmingly male filmmakers copying male filmmakers in genres defined for decades by vying for the eyeballs of 18 to 35-year-old males. If the last of those three is true (and it is) ... the other two are irrelevant. Only if we assume that neither nature nor nurture and culture has given men and women tendencies to see and express things differently. And, since essentially no one thinks that, well. I'm not making myself clear. I am saying that if a genre's audience is essentially young males (or in principle, any Definable Group X), any commercial, capital-intensive enterprise in that genre must necessarily focus on what Group X wants. That usually will be so, and always should be so, regardless of the characteristics of the people behind the camera, now or in the past.
  13. vjmorton

    The Matrix

    Especially when you have overwhelmingly male filmmakers copying male filmmakers in genres defined for decades by vying for the eyeballs of 18 to 35-year-old males. If the last of those three is true (and it is) ... the other two are irrelevant. And the "sexism" is not a problem that won't be exacerbated by self-conscious attempts by the feminist-inclined to fix it (as Robinson inadvertently proves).
  14. vjmorton

    The Matrix

    Waddya know ... you set up an affirmative-action standard, foreground characters' sex while denying sex differences and the result is ... this.
  15. vjmorton

    We Are the Best!

    Re the first point, I don't think you're giving enough credit to the film's sweet tone and how that makes that moment play. (Admittedly I don't share that scruple in most circumstances, but ... what the hell.) And re the second, I saw less of that angle here (and there's less as the film goes on) than in TOGETHER, which I think is Moodysson's film and which really is about that topic -- what might childhood rebellion look like in a culture that (claims to) value that.
  16. vjmorton

    Ida (2013)

    Oy vey ... Or to be a little more precise ... (1) It is bad criticism and historical special-pleading to attack any single, given film for telling a historical story that (stipulated for right now) may be atypical. Or (more likely the real cause of Brody's dyspepsia) that doesn't serve as an obvious ideological weapon in the present day. (2) It is a historical fact that Jews, for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with Elders-esque rubbish, were "overrepresented"* in the ranks of European socialists and communists in the 19th and, relevantly here, first half of 20th centuries.** And equally a fact that the Polish Communist regime, while very far from the worst of its ideology, engaged in bloody purges throughout the late 40s. (3) If Pawlikowski's point were to whip up hatred of The Perfidious Jews using Cosmopolitan Bolshevism to oppress the poor Polish people ... why show her as disillusioned? --------------------------------- * I hate that word ... it implies there is such a thing as group representation and embodies a whole host of false assumptions about human society. But there is simply no very good synonym for its use in a strictly mathematical sense. ** This is a fact often bragged about by those leftist Jews who think socialism and communism to be good things.
  17. The trilogy is ... sort of like
  18. vjmorton

    Noah (2014)

    Or put St. Veronica in ... #ThingsNotInTheGospels
  19. This was a pretty fun read until the 12 Years a Slave capsule. Blech. Exactly. "Those fundies are a buncha raaaaacists," the New Yorker's readers will cluck-cluck to themselves, well-stroked in their presentist prejudices. Those prejudices will, of course, remain in the privacy of their Reading Rooms and play no role in their broader lives (or ours).
  20. Ugh ... That image of normative Protestantism is the mirror image of The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Made worse by its appearance in the pages of the New Yorker rather than, say, the humor page on Christianity Today.
  21. Actually, this is mostly agreed upon. That "Prohibition didn't work," if by "work" we mean the "techne" sense of "reduced alcohol consumption," is a myth (in both senses) based on at most the experiences of a handful of urban centers (and movies and books and whatnot set in those environs). Plus a goodly helping of contemporary folks' will to believe. What serious public-health officials will say is that (1) the countervailing costs were too great (see the previous paragraph, but even if so, it's a value judgement, not a fact); and (2) the decline in drinking was faster in the pre-Prohibition 10s than in the 20s, had flattened out entirely by the late-20s, and didn't increase that much when Prohibition was repealed in the mid-30s (all true stats as far as they go; which isn't very).
  22. Is there some kind of Inarritu fanboy thing I'm not getting here, or is this simply a case of Opie Allergy? What is it about Inarritu's previous films that make people think him uniquely (or even "especially") qualified to helm a live-action blockbuster of Rudyard Kipling childrens-ish short stories ... cuz I'm not seeing it (tho I haven't seen BIUTIFUL). Are they all gonna uncannily intersect at the end or something? Besides, any rational good expectations for this project would have to assume that the script won't be post-colonially-problematized-to-death ... and I doubt that.
  23. Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team. Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team.
  24. This. Trust nobody who attacks Fox (and/or conservative commentary on films generally) as beneath contempt or consideration until you see their reaction when left-leaning outlets make essentially the identical point, albeit with a different normative conclusion. That is, to cite the proper nouns in this case, "THE LEGO MOVIE is anti-capitalist/anti-business! Boo!" (Fox, Breitbart, etc.) and "THE LEGO MOVIE is anti-capitalist/anti-business! Hooray!" (Ebiri, Slate, Criticwire) are equally brilliant or equally risible. ADDENDUM: I have not seen THE LEGO MOVIE yet (will remedy in a few hours) and thus have no opinion on the substantive merits of these critical claims.
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