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MattP

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Everything posted by MattP

  1. Space Ranger? What did I miss? (And out of curiosity, what does blockbuster have to do with film criticism?)
  2. MattP

    24

    "With all due respect, Madame President... Ask around." Awesome.
  3. That's a nice response from Bale. Provides a nice little endcap to an entertaining little sideshow.
  4. I bet Bale was grateful that Spielberg took him aside to give him this little lecture, instead of screaming at him in front of the rest of the crew for 4 straight minutes. FWIW, I'm not sure I understand why the "You're a nice guy" bit means much. It could mean that he really does have a decent relationship with the guy but has gotten so pissed at the wrong time that he just lost it here, and he wants to vent but doesn't want the guy to think that he doesn't still like him at least a little. On the other hand, especially given the fact that "You're a nice guy" comes in between about a dozen other extremely condescending remarks to the guy, it could also just be that little part of Bale that realizes that he's raging like an ass and making everyone else on the set uncomfortable, and he wants to say something to make himself not look so bad. I've been on sets where my DP was the one doing the screaming at the other f'ups on the crew, and I was the one that had to pull him aside and get on his case about it. Not because he was wrong about them f'ing up, but because he was making it harder for everyone else to work effectively. I have to assume that people are as eager to defend Bale's behavior primarily as a backlash to the initial over-reaction of the "Bale should never work again after this!" crowd. But are you telling me that if one of your family members were to get screamed at in that manner by one co-worker in front of all of their co-workers, that your response would just be "Hey, you f'ed up. You deserved it." You don't think you'd feel that the manner in which it was handled was inappropriate?
  5. Right. So until we have something to discuss about the movie, how about we hold back from polluting the thread for it? Someday, folks will go looking for the archives on what we said about the film, and they'll have all of this muck to trudge through. I certainly don't have a problem with splitting a thread, but in my opinion this episode is the most entertaining thing that's happened in a Terminator movie in years. (By the way, how have we not linked to the video(s) from I Heart Huckabees in this thread? Maybe the focus on the new thread could generically cover all blow-ups on a movie set!)
  6. I have noticed a trend that the people who want to hold this against Bale and see it as the poor DP getting picked on by the mean diva actor generally have never been on a movie set. Bale's defenders are people who work on movie sets-or have at least spent a lot of time on them. They know that a DP should not be doing the things the guy was doing. Most people I have seen defend Bale state that the guy really got lucky, most industry people say they would have fired a DP who did things like adjust lighting during the filming of a scene. You do not fidget with lights during the filming of a scene. Getting yelled at by an actor or losing my job? I can tell you which one I would prefer. I work on sets for a living and completely understand the problems with what the DP was apparently doing. In fact, I'm friends with the director of one of the DP's other features, though I haven't talked to him about the incident, nor heard him ever talk about the guy in a positive or negative way. My POV though, is that this isn't a zero-sum game. It's possible for both of them to be in the wrong. I mean, for all we know, the DP could've had explicit or implicit permission from the director to be doing what he was doing. This wasn't his first film with McG, and they could've developed a working style together that included these kinds of tweaks, whether typically acceptable in the industry or not. I've seen directors working whose primary concern was speed, and cutting off a DP's work when he was 90% of the way done with the lighting was standard practice. When the director knows he's doing that, it's not unusual for more tweaking to occur even after 1st team is on set. During actual rolling is more unusual, but the point is none of us know one way or the other. I wouldn't not hire either one of them based purely on this tape, but I would be more inclined to ask around a little more than normal before doing so with either. However, the myriad defenses of Bale's tantrum come across to me as the equivalent of a child defending his actions to his parent by claiming "but she did it first!". There's a proper code of conduct for communicating with another human being, and in this specific 4-minute situation, Bale broke that code of conduct. Period. Whether or not the DP did something wrong on his end to incite it is really irrelevant. All of the backstory and surrounding circumstances in the world may very well offer an explanation, but they don't offer an excuse.
  7. Whether or not the DP was in the wrong for his actions (and it sounds like he was), nobody deserves to get blasted like that in front of the rest of the crew. The DP may have been wrong, but that doesn't make Bale right. Plenty of people get pissed without going off the way he did, the dude clearly has issues.
  8. MattP

    Taken

    I think it's worth noting that Neeson's character You could argue that , but that's a potential complication that the movie simply brushes aside in order to dive back into the mayhem. However, as popechild said, including such introspection would've made for a much different movie. Yes, but now you're not talking about something that he did, just something that he threatened to do. And I don't think it's a given that Neeson's character would have followed through on that threat. The important thing was that the Frenchman believe that he would follow through. So yeah, had he followed through on the threat, that would've clearly crossed a line. But simply making the threat itself is something I'd have no problem doing myself under the circumstances.
  9. MattP

    Taken

    Wow, what a bunch of no-fun pointy hats you guys are. I ended up in this movie this afternoon completely on accident, after walking out of The Reader half way through and not having any other reasonable options that fit the allotted time that I had left. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much. I was so bored by the forty-five minutes of The Reader that I had just seen, and so fed up with its affected, Oscar-baiting ways, that it could have colored my experience in Taken, but regardless, I found myself thoroughly enjoying a film that I had expected to lump in with other mindless action films I've seen recently (Rocknrolla, Bangkok Dangerous). Taken is a suspenseful action movie with a bad-ass for a main character, and it does its job in that regard beautifully - as well as any other example since the latest installment of Bourne. The kidnapping scene that I'd seen ad nauseum in the trailers was incredible in its execution. Neeson's response to what unfolds in that scene is such pure bad-ass, plain and simple, that you instantly like him for it. Bourne is a likable bad-ass because of how smart and effective he is (witness the train station scene in Ultimatum). Neeson is a likable bad-ass because of how ruthless and efficient he is. I'm pretty sure he would've karate chopped his ex's new husband (boyfriend?) had the guy hesitated an extra half-second to answer his questions, and God help me, that's how I want to picture myself if I were ever to end up in the same situation. As a result, the kidnapping angle is the perfect setting for Neeson's character. Really, how much room for self-doubt or hesitation is there when your objective is to retrieve your daughter before she's lost forever. The Frenchman's wife is certainly where he goes to/over the line most significantly, but it's hard to fault the man for a "flesh wound" when he's facing the prospect of not getting to his daughter in time and this is his only lead. More so than Bourne (or Man on Fire) I was reminded of Jack Bauer - in the early seasons, before it was decided that he needed to be raked over the coals more for his sins. There aren't a lot of scenarios where I'll just morally and emotionally "release" the character to do whatever's necessary, but this is one of them. And one of the best things about Taken was the pacing. Not too overwhelming, but consistent enough to really keep you on a ride through the entire 90 minutes or so. Too much pausing for introspection would've made this movie a different animal entirely, and a worse one. This isn't a worse version of a Clint Eastwood movie, it's a much better version of a Jason Staitham one.
  10. Thanks for the advice Rich.... My inseam is actually a 34, so for a 6'4" dude i reckon thats shorter than average. I have a longer torso and monkey arms. I'm tall, awkward and rather gangly. I'm certainly not "built" for running in the classic sense. Even though i'm about 195lbs at the moment, there's nothing particularly streamlined about me. Looking back on my performance, i really think the heat was the biggest factor. Otherwise, i'm convinced i couldve held to a 10-minute mile, which i wouldve been very happy with. When i crossed the 13 mile mark on Sunday, i was right at 4:12. A little slower than my half marathon pace from the year before, but i was naturally holding back this time because i wanted to make sure i had enough juice to carry me another 13. It was what happened after this juncture that affected me the most. The course passed through a couple areas with minimal shade in the 18-23 mile area. I can recall just feeling really beat up at that point. I knew i was slowing down, but at the time it was all about finishing. Strewn along the course were quite a few guys who had blown their wad in the early going and who were barely able to continue walking. There was a kind lady holding a big sign at the 24-mile mark that just read "Ignore the Body"... Sage advice. I dug deep, put my head down and pushed for the finish line. I'm actually anxious now to try one up north and see if the lower temps and humidity, help my pace. Greg, I swear this isn't meant to diminish your accomplishment (I've rarely run more than 26 yards at once) but seeing this post made me think of a guy I met recently who goes to my church named Tim Borland. He's a "super-marathoner" if that's a real title, and I honestly thought I misheard him when he told me about the task he had just completed. Push here for an NPR story on it, but the gist is - he ran a marathon every day for 63 straight days! Hmm, I just google'd Tim and realized that he has an even newer feat he's accomplished: 50 miles per day for 13 days. What, the guy can't run 24 hours without stopping for sleep? Some people are just lazy I guess...
  11. MattP

    Lost

    SPOILERS BELOW Is it just understood that this entire thread will be spoiler-laden at this point? I've always stayed away from it just in case when I'm an episode or two behind, but just wondering. Otherwise... Awesomeness. Pure awesomeness. The Widmore bit was a great revelation. So he and Ben's alpha-male issues probably go all the way back to their time as Others. I hope we get to see that play out some. First episode I can remember with no Jack, Kate, or Ben the entire episode. I continue to love everything about Desmond and Daniel. Speaking of whom, my guess from early in this episode was that the redheaded scientist chick was experiencing the "temporal displacement" that Desmond dealt with in season 3. I'm even more convinced after what happened after the last flash. And Daniel's "love" revelation is just his effort to be her Penny to help her stay alive. Does Locke telling Richard to come find him after he's born alter the past? Or is Richard another one like Desmond to whom the rules don't apply? Oh, and the entire reason Daniel is on the expedition has to have something to do with helping to save his real love back on the *other* magical island.
  12. Don't let the haters discourage you. It's a really good film.
  13. MattP

    Lost

    Spoilers below... Kyle, big agreement on the thankfulness that they've so far been unable to change the past. Keeping that theme intact will prevent a lot of problems that would inevitably pop up without it. Except for Desmond it seems. I wonder why "the rules don't apply to him"? Not sure I'm ready for every episode to be about time travel though. I think that would be a major misstep. Hopefully it's only be a once-in-a-while thing. Most annoying moment: Hurley getting his picture snapped by that dude with the cell phone. Not only was the entire setup absurd and cliche, that guy whipped out his phone and took a picture in a half-second flat. My wife and I both groaned out loud.
  14. My ranking for the first four seasons (yes, there is a season 5, but I've only just started it because I wanted to re-watch all of the first four seasons first) is either 2, 1, 3, 4 (where 2 is the worse, up to 4 being the best) or 1-4, with all four seasons getting progressively better. I'm a little torn on whether I like 1 or 2 better, but there's not question I liked 3 better than either of those, and 4 the best of all. Btw, here's the metacritic page for season 4. An AVERAGE of 98 out of 100. If you read through the little review blurbs, it doesn't look like many people shared the "letdown" view of season 4. Enjoy!
  15. Don't say you weren't warned.
  16. MattP

    Doubt

    I could be wrong, but wasn't it explicitly stated at the end that he was going to another school?
  17. I'd advise against buying there period. The stores around here all liquidated in December, and I never saw a price that was really a bargain, even when they were "discounted" 40% or more. 25-30% off list is pretty standard on tvs, so to beat true sale prices, you're going to have to wait until they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel on stock, and doing the final days discount. At that point, the only thing that will be left is open box and the like. I went in multiple times when our store was liquidating, trying to find a deal on a half dozen items or so. I never saw a price that was even as low as the standard pricing in other stores. The liquidation sales are shams. Oh, and you won't be able to return anything if it's purchased from the liquidator.
  18. Oh man, that post so nails it. Especially The Karate Kid comment (a comparison I also made to the friend I saw the movie with) and this bit about the talking dog, which goes to my on-the-nose comment: One of the things that hampers Eastwood is that the script calls on him to verbalize every response he has because it doesn't trust the audience to get even the most heavy-handed underlining. The opening scene is of his wife's funeral and he scowls at the grandkids and then (in case you didn't get it) their two parents (his kids) explain to each other why he is scowling at their kids. ("Did you see him scowling at your kid for wearing a Lion's jersey?" "Yeah, well your daughter is showing her belly button...") My personal favorite example of this ongoing expository dialogue is when Eastwood gets a phone call that begins, "Hi Dad, this is your number one son, Mitch..." Unfortunately there are several scenes in which there is nobody around to serve as author (or interpreter) surrogate and tell us what his glowers mean, so Eastwood has to do it himself, either by looking in the mirror and/or talking to himself--"What the hell are you doing here?" or muttering under his breath to nobody in particular. In what I guess is the pivotal scene of the film, Eastwood watches a neighbor woman get out of her car and spill her groceries as a group of teenagers laugh and walk by her on the sidewalk. "Will you look at that!" he grumbles and starts to get up from his chair. Before he can, though, he notices his young, Hmong neighbor walk across the street and say, "Here let me help you." Eastwood then looks at the dog and says, "Well whaddaya know?"
  19. I'm with you Ron, 100%. Just got back from this and I'm astonished at the high praise it's getting from so many corners. I like the idea for the story, and I like the way the ending played out, but in almost every detail of the execution it felt awkward, stilted and amateur. The script was cliche-ridden (dropping a glass to shatter on the floor... really?) and full of on-the-nose dialogue, the acting was universally subpar (I liked Eastwood at times, but I'm pretty sure it was only because it was Eastwood. If another actor had delivered lines the way he did, or snarled ridiculously the way he did, I'm not sure I wouldn't even enjoyed it at times.) I even felt like the editing was poor, which is not something I normally pay much attention to. I really didn't hate the movie, I was just bored by most of it, and perplexed at how the script had been greenlit in its current state and how most of the actors had been cast. But I have a feeling this is one of those movies I'll learn to dislike more and more as a result of all the undeserved glowing praise it's receiving.
  20. MattP

    24

    Yeah, it was clear from the first two episodes that Tony wasn't *really* going to be a bad guy (though the revelation that he *was* a bad guy for a few years is interesting, and paves the way for some interesting possibilities down the road). And since it was somewhat clear anyway, best to go ahead and reveal it now and get on with it. And as much as I'd love a completely fresh start too, I don't know if I'd love it enough to do away with Chloe and Bill. I think what they've currently got is a pretty good compromise. I agree completely that they need to find a new shtick beyond "you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall!" The actors in my films often give similar performances. Which is to say, it's probably just bad directing.
  21. MattP

    Doubt

    I don't doubt it at all. I'm saying that once the creator gives the work over to the audience, his original intention becomes less important than the audience's experience of the work. And in this case, it's not a matter of the audience misinterpreting the story in a way that contradicts what the author's intention (although even in such a case, I'd argue that unless the audience is "missing" some actual piece of the finished work in their misinterpretation - ie. a who-dun-it where the audience concludes it was suspect X but missed the note coyly passed under the table by suspect Y in their interpretation - the interpretation of the work ultimately has to lie in the work itself and the audience's ability to interpret it, not in whatever ideas the author had in HIS head during the creation. I'm suggesting that the work must ultimately stand on its own, and while critically and creatively it might be interesting to know or wonder what the author had in mind when he created it, the fact of it doesn't change the nature of the finished work itself. As I said, in this case it's not even misinterpretation. It's the author's explicit intent to have the audience unable to know for sure - to be left with doubt whatever the inclination. And so in the world of the film, the priest either did or didn't do it, in our experience of it there's no way to know for sure (and no desire of the author FOR us to know for sure). That's not post-modern at all, it's actually quite the opposite. And yes, definitely watch the blonde kid the next time you see it. It will give you a whole new set of questions to wonder about.
  22. MattP

    Doubt

    Then what about the parents (or mothers) of the children in the next school? What about the nuns at the next school, who can keep an eye out for any impropriety. No, she was convinced he was guilty, but with enough doubt that even she knew it wouldn't be appropriate for her to spread the windswept feathers of gossip even beyond the walls of her own "family." Enough doubt that she didn't actually call the nuns at his previous church, only said that she did. She was willing to make him lose this particular job for the guarantee of protection for her children, but unwilling to ruin the man completely on the however remote chance that she was wrong.
  23. Sure, I just mean in the nauseating frequency of it, not "over" in the sense that it's undeserved. Kind of like USC and their defense. Yes, they're very good, I agree, but please shut up about it already. Know what I mean?
  24. MattP

    Doubt

    Which is an argument in favor of the depth of her doubt and the potential for his innocence to me. She'd "go to hell" to condemn Hoffman, and yet when he's promoted to another school where he'll be around other children she leaves it at that? That says to me that her doubt is great enough that she can't bring herself to pursue it any further. She's like the parent who has enough suspicion to warrant keeping her own kids away from the accused, but enough doubt to prevent her from chasing him to his grave. Not only does she know that she has no proof, she probably knows that even a prolonged search for it may well come up empty. She's not 100% sure, but she's 100% sure enough that she won't let him around her kids. As to the creator's intent, it's fairly clear that at the end of the day he wants the audience to have their own doubt. I think his desire is much more for the audience to recognize their own uncertainly and to struggle with what that means, whether they suspect that he's innocent or guilty. To that end, I don't think there really is a "there there." He may have had one in mind as he created it, but once it's put on paper (or film) the work becomes its own thing, and this one wasn't created to be a parlor game where the smartest person in the room will interpret the clues correctly and ultimately uncover the truth, it was created to intentionally craft and weigh enough evidence on both sides of the argument to ensure that no one can be certain of the truth. I would almost bet money that at multiple times in the creative process polls were taken (formally or informally) to determine whether or not the audience was assuming guilt or innocence, and he didn't rest until the result was as close as possible to 50/50. EDIT: Almost forgot, Peter: you've brought up a few times the possibility that he IS guilty of the crimes accused, but not with the student suggested. I think this is a very clear possibility (and by saying that, I don't mean that that's the "there" there, but rather that I believe it to be a possibility that the director very much wanted the audience to entertain in their doubt.) I have no idea who the blonde classmate was who to my memory never said a word, but there's a reason the camera kept lingering on his reactions and expressions, as well as the focus on the other alter boy, who also had no real "role" in the story's plot.
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