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Everything posted by Jazzaloha

  1. Got it. Films are linear in that scenes follow one another in a particular sequence, even if they occur in different times. Still. there's at least one film that sort of breaks that down. I'm thinking of Last Year at Marienbad. Nevermind, this is totally off topic.
  2. So does anyone know which is Malick's final and preferred version? That's the one I want to see. I also agree with Peter that films do not need to have or be about a strong narrative. I don't even know if they have to be linear, depending what we mean by that.
  3. There are only two other films that compare to this film in terms of artistry, ambition and acheiving that ambition, and those films are 2001: a Space Odyssey and L'Avventura. I think I like The New World the best, mainly because of Malick's vision and themes in this film. It's a work of art of the highest order, and should be seen on the biggest screen with the best sound system possible. The composition, cinematography, editing, sound and score all come together wonderfully. But it's not just the images that are poetic and beautiful, but the ideas and meaning that is conveyed by the poetry and cinema. I'm not finished writing all my thoughts down yet, so I'll try to post back when I have time. Just a wonderful film in a class by itself, and one of the best aesthetic experiences I've ever had. I'm glad there are other people who are enthusiastic about this film. But what's this about two different versions? I'm really aghast about this. I have no idea which version I've seen, but I have seen in February, so I assume I saw the shorter version. Has anyone seen both? What's the difference? Is the second version truly Malick's version, something he preferred? Dang, I'm really frustrated here folks. Oh, can someone tell what are the other two films Malick is working on?
  4. Jazzaloha

    The Piano

    mrmando, Yes, Baines intially bribes her for sex--this is what I meant by "fumbling to get that 'thing' only women can give"--but he realizes that he can't get this 'thing' that way. Yes, what he wants is sexual, but he wants something more (i.e. intimacy). Ada understands this, and this is what allow her to choose Baines. It's also what makes Baines a more likeable figure, imo. I agree with Gigi when she says, And later But I also think the film is about two men who are drawn to a woman, and want something from her. Both struggle and clumsily try to get that "thing."
  5. Giulietta Masina gives a great performance and creates one of the all-time great characters in film. Cabiria is not just spunky, she can be downright fierce at times. Yet, she also showed this tender, vulnerable and innocent side. Masina juxtaposition of toughness and fragility was really something to behiold. I really liked the film, except I had a problem with the ending. Spoilers Crow said that "she was bruised but not broken," and that's precisely what I found so hard to believe. I was devasted (apparently more than she was) by the revelation at the end. I really had hope for her and wanted her to be happy. The fact that she fell for the con man and that she sold everything would have been too much, I thought. I feared that she would jump off the cliff, which would have been more believeable for me. At least her recovery would have taken a lot longer than it seemed to in the film. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this film.
  6. Jazzaloha

    The Piano

    Both Alisdair (Sam Neil) and George (Harvey Keitel) want that thing that only a woman can give, but both fumble at getting this "thing." Ultimately, Ada accepts George because George realizes that he does not want or cannot have this thing by bribery. Ada realizes this, and that's what helps her accept him. Alisdair never gets this, and so Ada rejects him. I read the film as a story about men and women wanting to connect, but struggling to do so. In a way, this reminds me of L'Avventura. But The Piano is also about Ada and her fierce independence and wanting to live on her own terms. I haven't seen the film since it first came out, but I thought it was terrific.
  7. Jazzaloha


    Peter said, "...But you know, I can't say that two hours of watching random people talk about stereotypes as they coincidentally keep bumping into each other does all that much for me. If you changed all the racial topics to religious topics, I would probably still find the film a little dull. I find these sorts of issues more interesting when they lurk within a film's subtext; I like being able to pull at them and unravel them and see where they go. When these sorts of issues are brought to the fore and spelled out within the text itself, it doesn't work so well -- especially when a film is so ambitious as to throw dozens of relatively minor characters at us and so diligently fair-minded as to try to show how complex all of them can be." I want to respond to this because, on one level, I sympathesize with some of these views. I don't generally like films that seem to care more about giving a lecture on social relations more than developing an interesting story with interesting characters (See Spike Lee.) Moreover, I think there is some validity to the claim that Haggis didn't do a good job of creating characters. However, on another level, I think the film does more than show that people are complex--specifically, that people are neither good nor bad, but a mixture of the two. Yes, the film shows us that, but it also explores stereotypes in a complex way, too--specifically, thinking in stereotypes is not necessarily bad. There are sound reasons for thinking in stereotypes: should we always prevent ourselves from thinking this way? Can we stop ourselves? The fact that Haggis does not give us a black-and-white answer to this issue is what makes this film special. I know I haven't seen this in any film. But he doesn't stop there. He goes on to show that thinking this way--for sound or unsound reasons--really alienates people from each other. He shows the frustration that this causes in people and the difficulty of the situation. Sandra Bullock's character and situation really show this frustration and complexity. She doesn't want to think of the black characters in a stereotypical way, yet her gut tells her she should be on guard. She ignores that and gets mugged. We see her anger and frustration afterwards, and to me it was over this tough situation. Do you ignore your gut feelings and then put yourself at risk? Or do you act on your gut feelings and then feel guilty about that? This complex situation causes alienation and frustration has explosive consequences (crashes). I also think the crash metaphor refers to the fact that we are so alienated from each other that we need a jarring event like a crash, to connect with one another. (I believe Don Cheadle's character says something to that effect in the beginning.)
  8. Jazzaloha


    I don't think Leachman or Leoni were problems. The problem had more to do with a lack of time, a lack of clarity on who these characters were or both. I think Brooks had too many characters and relationships and possible stories to deal with in one film, unless it was fours long. That's why I thought this might make an interesting TV series. I liked the manic, quirky quality Leoni brought to the film. But I didn't think Brooks had enough time or gave enough time to let the audience know what made her tick. If any actors were problematic, it was Sandler and the actor who played Flor. She was just way too hot for the role. I think the actor in *Like Water for Chocolate* and *Bottle Rocket* would have been better suited for the role. She's very attractive, but not in such a sexy way. And while Sandler is likeable, an actor better chops would have been better, say someone like Ed Norton. The whole cultural differences seemed kind of phony, too.
  9. I want to weigh in the discussion between having keeping the discussion of a film in one thread or allowing for many. Conceptually, I like the idea of keeping all discussions about a film in one thread. This just makes the message board more organized, and easier to navigate and manage when looking for information on a film. I like the idea of going to ONE thread to read all the thoughts, opinions and discussions about a film. On another message board I'm involved in I try to keep the discussions of a particular film or topic in one thread. Having said that, in practice, limiting all discussions of a film to one single thread doesn't work very well because it can stifle both participation and discussion, especially to those who were not involved in the discussion when the thread. Good discussions depend on a natural flow and momentum. Acheiving this when you try to keep all the posts in one thread is very difficult. For example, if a person wants to jump into a thread where the last post was made a year ago, that person will have a better chance of generating a discussion by starting a new thread, imo. I think there is a relatively simple solution (at least conceptually) which Peter mentioned: just link the threads together. I think having some index of film titles that you could click on and see a list of all the existing discussions of a film would be a cool thing. I don't know how difficult this would be to do, but I think it would address both concerns raised by Peter and Ken.
  10. Jazzaloha

    The Return

    "But there are so many unanswered questions for me. I have never understood what Jesus' death on the cross meant." I am not a theologian. I can only say what Jesus' death on the cross means to me. "Our sins" signifies everyone is sinful. Sin, to me, is an intense selfishness and pride. Truly loving another person is the opposite. People, at their core, are selfish and prideful. Jesus died in part because of this sinful nature--so that we wouldn't have to die. He took the punishment we deserved on Himself. God allowing Jesus to die showed His unbelieveable love to all of us. But if you studied theology for 4 years, you probably know this. Still, I felt I should try to answer your question.
  11. Jazzaloha


    Michael, Just to add to your interpretation, I believe Paul Bettany's character in the beginning says something about wanting to teach an object lesson to the townspeople, about accepting a *gift*.
  12. I liked this film, too, even though I don't care for Murray's acting (in this persona). Spoilers I don't know if I buy the possibilitiy that Don worte the first letter, not until I hear some other evidence for this anyway. It's an interesting idea, though.
  13. Jazzaloha


    Did anyone talk about the possibility that the conversation between Grace and the "Big Guy" represents a liberal and conservative perspectives, respectively? Matt has a partial trascription of the conservation, and the Big Guy sounds like a political conservative while Grace sounds like a liberal. A part of me (I'm not totally convinced) feels like the conversation can be seen as a criticism of liberals, particularly those in America (the West) in the following ways: 1. "Forgiving" criminal behavior (because of environment, etc.) is arrogant and condescending. The liberal stance is more about condescension than actual forgiveness; 2. The Grace changing her mind siding with her father represents liberals gave in to the ideology of the right, particuarly in the case of the Iraq war. Again, I don't know if I totally buy this, but the conservation did make me think of a discussion between a liberal and conservative.
  14. Jazzaloha

    Code Unknown

    Some thoughts after having skimmed through the film a second time... (spoilers) 1. One of the big themes in the film seems to be the way we--particuarly those that are priveleged--ignore people in need--particularly children--and how terrible that is. I see that as consequence of the lack of connection we have with each other. 2. The film could also be speaking about the way we experience life through media (i.e. George through his photographs and Anne through film) more than actual life itself. 3. Is there a bit of the "noble savage" concept working through the film? The refugees seem more noble than those characters from Western civilization.
  15. Jazzaloha

    Code Unknown

    I just saw this yesterday, and I haven't really put all the pieces together of this puzzle of a movie, but this film resonates with me. I'm going to try and watch this again, and think about this more, before I read the posts in this thread. Some initial comments/notes: 1. I wasn't clear about the time and sequence of events in the film. Did the film move in a linear fashion? For example, Georges can't get into the apartment at the end of the film because the code is changed. Jean can't get into the apartment because of the code is different at the beginning of the film. I wondered if the last scene with Georges occurred before the first scene when Anne leaves her apartment. 2. The film seems to be about at least some of the following: immigration and our attitude and treatment of immigrants; the way we respond to those that are vulnerable (i.e. children) or those that are in need of assistance. 3. I'm not sure what the whole movie-within-a-movie thing is all about. 4. I liked the way the film requires the audience to get involved and "fill in the blanks" to understand the film. Haneke doesn't "over explain" the movie, and I really liked that aspect of it. The film requires a significant amount of thought and analysis before I can come to a conclusion about it.
  16. Jazzaloha

    The Return

    Hey, JennyLynne, if you're still there...I don't know if you read the entire thread or not, but I recommend going back and reading some of particuarly after Ron expresses a desire to hear more specifics from people who loved the film. I, especially, appreciate the specific insights from SDG and Jeffrey. Also, Husker (I think) made an interesting remark about how Russia has not been allowed to believe in God, until recently (relatively speaking anway). Like Ron, I wasn't entirely convinced that this was a spiritual/"Christian" movie, so I appreciate the coversation that percipitated afterwards. I just want to jump on some of the comments so far (especially SDG, Jeffrey, and Ron): (spoilers) First, I think SDG first brought up the idea that sometimes we perceive God as being cruel, unfair and unjust. (There are passages in the Old Testament that still cause me to wonder.) I think that interpretation seems consistent with the film. The filmmaker seems to set-up the father as the typical mean, abusive and even criminal father we so often see in films. That's a big part of the suspense in this film. The twist turns out to be that he may not be like that stereotypical character. One interpretation of the ending and meaning of the film is that our misunderstanding of God leads can lead to his death and absence from our lives. The younger son is afraid of his father and runs away. But the father is really trying to protect the son, not hurt him. This fear indirectly leads to his father's death. The film could be asking viewers to question our perception of God (Perhaps, specifically for Russian audiences who feel abadoned and mistreated by God, as husker brings up). That what we consider mistreatment may in fact be loving acts. If we are not careful, the movie could be saying, this misunderstanding can lead to God's absence in our lives. (And if indeed the father dies on Friday and we don't see what happens on Sunday, perhaps the filmmaker is saying that whether God is resurrected or *returns* is up to us.) The interpretation is not so bleak to me. I saw this film several months ago, so I don't know if the film supports this view or not. I have to say that a disagree a bit with Ron's view of the father as undeniably cruel (e.g. "He was a self-centered, mean jerk.") I'm not as certain as he is about that. There is so much we don't know about the father and his motivations in the film, which is the director's intention. I do believe the director wants us to assume the father is an abusive person to set up the suspense and maybe make us question our own perceptions. Again, sometimes God seems cruel and unjust, but maybe the fault is in our perception and not God. I think one of filmmaker's intent is for us to question these perceptions. Thanks again to everyone who gave specific reasons and cited specific scenes to support their opinions. I love that.
  17. Just saw this for the first time. I gotta say that I was disappointed by this film. I listened to the interview with various filmmakers, including Bresson himself, and I liked the concept of the film (i.e. going through various stages of human life, exploring different human vices, etc.), but I gotta say that the film lacked any kind of emotion. To me, the actors were like androids on the screen. I couldn't tell if this was just behavior and acting that makes the film dated or just bad acting. This is the biggest problem I had with the film, and why the film, ultimately, didn't work for me. I had no idea about the motivations of the characters--what they were feeling and why they were behaving in the way they did. The people were so alien. The more Bresson films I see (This is the third.), the less patient I am with the female characters in his films. They're so wooden and passive. Any those are my initial thoughts. I've only skimmed a few posts in this thread, but I will try to go back and read some of the comments.
  18. Here's another one that I forgot to add: Mass Appeal Starring Jack Lemon as a Catholic priest; funny, without sacrificing the drama of moral decisions.
  19. Jazzaloha

    Time of the Wolf

    I enjoyed reading about people's comments about fire in the film. I saw this several months ago, and I thought of the flim, Testament, which I thought was a better film. However, I don't think Testament explores spiritual issues in the way that some claim of Time of the Wolf. Jeffrey said, That's really interesting. I'll definitely be watching for that if I see this film again.
  20. Jazzaloha

    Four Brothers

    Personally, I didn't watch this film as social commentary on race or sex, but as merely entertainment. The following reflects that approach. I thought this was a 70's style revenge flick, including the other-the-top hero and villian. Bobby's and Victor's silly hot-headed behavior reminded me of these cheap 70's and 80's films. (Chiwetel Ojiofor acting was particularly dreadful in this film, especially since I loved him in Dirty Pretty Things.) I went to this film because the whole notion of black and white brothers banding together to get revenge appealed to me. (I'm not proud of wanting to see a revenge flick, but I'm just being honest.) While I liked the aspect of the black and whites treating each ofther as brothers, I thought the development of these characters and the dialogue was clumsy and cheesy. For example, "Hey, that's my brother you're hitting there." I wish the filmmaker did a better of job of showing their closeness with each other and with their mother, instead of using dialogue like the above. I did like the way the heroes defeat Victor and the evil cop. Overall I would give the film a 5 out of 10.
  21. sundered, Wow, I'm a little surprised by bitterness and maybe even a little hostility towards the film in your review. I agree story and characters were not developed well. As I mentioned, I felt like both were almost excuses to hold together performance art pieces. The pieces I connected with seemed poetic and effective to me. I would never describe these moments or the film in general as "preachy." By the way, did you feel like you understood all of those scenes? I feel like I would have to go back and watch them again to fully understand them. (Fwiw, I perceived the same sort of stringing-together-of-performance-art in the movie Songs from the Second Floor.) As for the director, July, I didn't feel like she was saying "simply saying that everything is good." I felt like her film explored mysteries in life, and if I had to describe her stance towards life, it would be wonder.
  22. The hymn was called something like, "The Stone that Cries" or something like that. (Sorry, Darrel, I saw the film before I read this post.) spoilers Here are some random comments: The film seemed to be an excuse to string together "performance art." That's a bit harsh. Perhaps, it is more accurate and kinder to say that the narrative wasn't so strong, but some of the scenes were worked like good performance art (i.e. the goldfish). A friend of mine commented: "She (the director) seemed to have all these great ideas for scenes in a film or performance art pieces stored up." The narrative served as a showcase for these pieces. That's a bit unfair and misleading, too, because the film does have a story, but it's just not the strongest part of the film. Some of the scenes and moments are very good, even poetic. There is one particluar aspect of the film that I want to comment on, and that is the episode with the two brothers on a sex chat room. I was amazed at the juxtaposition of disturbing and tender feelings in those scenes, particularly the scene when the young boy meets the woman in person. The scene is funny yet very touching. I was amazed at the way a crude coversation about sex could turn into something so vulnerable, intimate and loving. It was a tough scene to pull off, and I think the director did it. (The boy was really wonderful in this.)
  23. (spoilers) Well, I don't know if having a subservient role makes the film misogynistic for me. I have a bigger problem with the way the film almost portrays pimping women in a way that is almost acceptable. The songs that they create are sound good (and one of them eventually succeeds), and I felt that sort of glamorized pimping and whoring. The women also seem to have no problem with the lyrics of the song, which are totally degrading towards women. A part of me felt like that was just a realistic portrayal of the characters; the female characters would not have a big problem with lyrics. On the other hand, the message sent to the audiences could condone this behavior. DJay is also portrayed as a very sympathetic character even when he treats the women harshly. For example, when he kicks out one of the girls, the film made me feel like the woman deserved to be kicked out. Furthermore, Djay does not beat her phyiscally, which makes him more sympathetic and likeable.
  24. Jazzaloha

    The Godfather

    Well, the way I have defined "spiritual" film is a film that has a higher power, a relationship to a higher power and/or over religious concepts at the heart of a film. Since A&F has not given a definition, thats' what I'm going by. Besides, you seemed to suggest that the title, The Godfather, is one of the reasons the film is a spiritual one. I'm not familiar with Aristotle's ideas about poetics, but are you saying that a film with those elements is essentially a spiritual film?
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