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Everything posted by Russ

  1. I've edited accordingly. Nick, I went further than I should have. In my view, the meta-discussion about the discussion of the film is less interesting than discussion of the film.
  2. Nick, what in the world are you talking about? I've read your comments here and not engaged them, largely because others have done so ably and because you're just throwing stuff at the wall at this point. But these last statements are particularly ludicrous. First, the film was "greenlit" (to the extent that concept really applies here) because the writer-director won the freaking Palme d'Or last time out, and has on his resume a series of art films that win critical accolades and garner modest box office. Haneke could have ended his film with Georges and Anne playing Asteroids on an Atari 2600 with a banner hung above the telly that read, "Suck it, Culture of Death" and the film still would have been "greenlit" because it's Haneke. Second, apart from the impossibility of ever proving a non-statement like "subtlety does not sell international tickets," you seem to have disregarded Barb's first non-reason for dismissing the film's Oscar nomination-worthiness: it didn't make money, or at least didn't make money in the manner in which they measure money in Hollywood, that magical warzone. And, to Miguel, I did see your comments regarding the film and have been turning them around in my mind. They deserve engagement, and I intend to oblige.
  3. Full disclosure: there's no way I'm reading the whole preceding thread. Sorry. I've been the guy who was a minor annoyance the last few years with regard to comic book movies. Generally, I don't much like them, even though I've spent a lot of time reading superhero comics. I've been a bit of a jerk in expressing that view. In fairness, now, it's incumbent on me to admit how ridiculously entertaining this movie is. What's so great about Whedon's film, in my view, is that he recognizes the essence of what made the Lee-Kirby stable of characters and events so compelling to kids my age: (1) bombast, (2) humor and (3) an acknowledgment of superheroes as an essentially B-level/genre entertainment (not that there's anything wrong with that). This involves a funny juxtaposition: the fate of the earth is always in the balance, but there's always time for a quip. The stakes are serious, but the comics never take themselves too seriously. Christian Bale's hilariously bad Batman voice and somber musings would have been totes out of place in THE AVENGERS. (Now that I think about it, imagine the hilarious riffing that Stark could have laid on raspy Batman.) Plus, Whedon has a chance to reap the harvest of the preceding half-dozen Marvel movies used to introduce these characters. I've only seen a couple of them-- the two Hulks, Thor and Captain America-- and they're all minor pleasures. Some of them are more successful than others, but all significantly less accomplished than THE AVENGERS, which benefits so well from being able to play the characters off against each other within a superheroed world. I know Marvel/Disney see this as the big payoff from those films, but the characters they hadn't introduced previously-- Hawkeye and Black Widow-- come off pretty well, too. Part of what is so appealing about the way Whedon throws these characters together is that as a group, they each retain their individual characteristics, but the sheer multiplicity of heroes spares us from the now-ludicrous Sturm und Drang of the Superhero-as-Metaphor. Yes, yes, I get it. The X-Men are a stand-in for all persecuted minorities. Peter Parker is a pubescent boy. Batman is what makes everybody afraid. The less time and attention paid to these on-the-nose themes, the better, and THE AVENGERS is so stuffed with characters and events that it has no time for this overused angle. I'm also typically bored by action/fight sequences, but Whedon kept me interested the whole way through. His eschewing quick-cutting is a large part of it, but his frequent use of long and wide shots to spatially orient the viewer is a nice departure from the school of filmmaking that puts the viewer right in the middle of a disorientingly-shot fight. Also, this: the film gets even better on a second viewing. How many action movies actually appear more consistent, rather than less, when you take a second look? Also, this: my 9 y.o. and I may or may not have watched/rewound/rewatched the Loki-thrashed-like-a-rag doll scene five or six times.
  4. I'd rather have BABIES on the list than THE PRINCESS BRIDE.
  5. Only 2 1/2 episodes in, but I'm already jonesing for a Youtube supercut of all those scenes where Spacey and his wife have those stupid and bizarre mecha-Machiavelli exchanges.
  6. Yeah, what's our go-live date? I'm excited to see it all, as well.
  7. Side Effects, I hope. I've got loaners of Haneke's 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance and the first season of Game of Thrones, neither of which I've seen. My kids and I have just made it into the Eleventh Doctor's episodes, so I'm sure there will be some clamoring for Dalek action.
  8. I think Crosswalk needs to spread their Best of 2012 list out over more pages, because I only had to wear out one mouse click-button to read through it. Good choices, though. Like to see our man Christian going to bat for Team Ghibli.
  9. I haven't seen Grand Hotel, but when you mentioned the kind of film you were looking for, my first thought was Nashville, which Ken also mentioned. It's difficult to imagine that Grand Hotel's ending is darker than Nashville's.
  10. That's right. Moments afterward, something inside me told me it wasn't really that funny, and would be an unnecessary distraction.
  11. Thanks! That was exactly the image I was trying to get.
  12. Gosh. Can't believe I just remembered this. Right after Jaws 2 came out-- a film I had not seen, but I had bought and read and reread the Marvel magazine-sized adaptation-- I started writing a story called Jaws 3. It begins, as you might imagine, with Brody going to chase another shark, and his wife protesting. The enraged Mrs. Brody tells the Chief he can take all this dangerous living and "shove it up a shark's butt." Brody asks, "Does a shark have a butt?" The Mrs. counters, "Then shove it up yours!" She then "turned on her heel" and left the room. My dad thought that was hilarious, I remember, and when one of his friends came over to visit, he made me retrieve my spiral bound notebook from my room.
  13. I get you, and I esteem Jaws really, really highly. Maybe Jaws led to the summer-movie paradigm we suffer under today, but even if that's the case, it's such a great film. (aside: if it didn't make the horror movies list, it should have) My point is, though, that very few individuals at nine years old with XY chromosomes would have had to be talked into seeing Jaws, and the ones who would have resisted would have done so largely because they feared the potential for nightmare fuel, and not because they feared having to see the chief have a polysyllabic conversation with his wife.
  14. See, I read this topic to mean the first "grown-up" movie seen, as defined by some level of talky, non-action-based complexity that would be tagged as "boring" by kids, typically. Along those lines, Raiders, Jaws and Dawn o'the Dead are non-responsive.
  15. *Trying to upload, in response, an image of one of the Babies babies, but being denied permission by the site.*
  16. A couple of years before I saw Gandhi I remember sitting through two different versions of Beau Geste. Looking at the descriptions, I can't be sure which ones they were. WJAC, the Johnstown NBC affiliate, used to program some great things in the 4:00 hour on weekdays, just a little after I got home from school. Godzilla week. Thriller week. Monster movies. I remember looking through the TV Guide when it'd come in the mail to see what was playing in those slots and planning ahead. My sentimental longing for the days when network affiliates programed creatively is tempered by the lingering suspicion that I should have been doing something better with my time.
  17. I am in. Also, Don't Look Now makes me desperately long for the days when they made horror movies for grownups.
  18. Russ

    Pacific Rim

    I really like del Toro, so I want this to be good. From what I've seen thus far, though, I can't figure out how it could be. This is all the fighting robots/smashed up scenery/dialogue comprised of platitudes that I don't really go in for when it's part of Battleship of Michael Bay's movies. So, unless there's some magical surrealism or fantastic character work that's being hidden from the trailers...
  19. Yeah, I figured since Jeremy's a left-coaster (right?), that his end of day is really my 3 a.m. So I plan to attend a client's public meeting from 6-8:30, spend an hour with the kids, watch a couple of movies and write a couple of blurbs before midnight Pacific. Piece of cake.
  20. Sorry-- this was the only Bergman-related thread I could find. Searches for "Ingmar," "Bergman" and "Seventh Seal" came up dry. Here's Henrik Lundqvist's "Salute to Sweden" mask for the current NHL mini-season. Garbo and Ingrid Bergman on one side, with Ingmar, Death and the death-dancers on the other side. What a weird piece of sports detritus. I love to imagine some young boy at a Rangers game with his dad, sitting in $500 on-the-glass seats at MSG, asking his dad what the heck is on the goalie's mask. LET'S. GO. RAN. GERS! (Death!) (Disease!) (Meaning-less-ness!)
  21. An interesting curiosity: Dallas Stars backup goalie Richard Bachman went looking for a new mask, so the artist riffed on Stephen King's pen name and came up with the above creepy image.
  22. I consider IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE to be a comedy, though a dark one. I would have been happy to see UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (Sturges) or SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS on the list.
  23. I'm knocking off three episodes a night of this show on Netflix Instant, and really enjoying it. It's the perfect example of a well-made, skillfully-written genre show. It has probably the worst name of any television show to air in the past ten years, which may or may not have been a factor in its abysmal ratings. And I don't watch a single minute of this show if not for the amount of bandwidth Alan Sepinwall devoted to singing its praises when it was airing.
  24. Russ

    Django Unchained

    Uh, so which "major critics" have ignored the "strand of racism" in Birth of Nation, exactly? To the extent I've seen it discussed in recent years as one of the great films, it's typically with a Klan-shaped asterisk next to it.
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