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Jeremy Ratzlaff

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Everything posted by Jeremy Ratzlaff

  1. Jeremy Ratzlaff

    Computer Chess

    Very much a niche film - as I watched it, different people kept coming to mind, "ah hah, I think I know someone who would really enjoy this," but nothing especially exciting happened for me, personally. It held my attention, but as a weird sort of distant fascination. It kept reminding me of Aronofsky's Pi, but where Pi got right inside the philosophical implications of obsession and numbers, Computer Chess made me wonder if human rational was even human at all. It becomes uncomfortably bleak, very quickly. But like I said, it's too niche for me to even get a handle on it. I'm not smart enough for it.
  2. As per Jeffery's fantasy. (I especially like the 'Forget About Love' tagline on this)
  3. Damn you guys, pointing out all the reasons this film doesn't hold up. Now I'm going to notice those things and I won't be able to enjoy it as much. A (spoiler) comment regarding the 'villain' - I, too, was less than impressed with how Hans' character turns out, but it never annoyed me because, who actually cares about Hans, at any point? He's not even supposed to be the antagonist, he just ends up being a plot device. Elsa's the antagonist. And of course we're rooting for an Anna and Kristoff romance. Also, I laughed really hard at whole whole Nymphomaniac dialogue.
  4. Since watching the entire series over the course of three days near the beginning of the year, I've seen all 15 episodes three times in total and have introduced select episodes to anyone expressing even the slightest interest. I'm a huge proponent of Cousin's. Though it's true he's no filmmaker (conventionally speaking), I would argue that his agenda, his motifs and even his voice allow him substantial credit as a notably personal filmmaker. His perspective of world cinema is blatantly romanticized, which is not so much a fault as an approach, and for that reason I'm quick to forgive his dismissal of conventional Hollywood (which to be fair, has had more than its share of romanticization) and other factual 'faults' he's been accused of. The title, The Story of Film: An Odyssey is intentional in that it's meant to invoke a sense of epic narrative rather than a bland historical overview. It's Cousin's narrative; a personal retelling of everything that's important to him about cinema. And I'm grateful to him for sharing it with us! I also just ordered his book, The Story of Film (predecessor to the series) on eBay the other day. I'm excited for it to arrive.
  5. I also deeply appreciate your thoughts, Peter. I admit that I am very anxious for this film. So much money on the table simply does not bode well for anyone except the suits. Worst case scenario, Aronofsky doesn't get what he wants, Evangelical Christians don't get what they want (which is inevitable), and everyone else is let down by a product that tried to give the Evangelical Christians what they wanted. It's a lose-lose, and the studio is most likely not going to replicate Passion's success either way. I mean was it really that surprising to anyone that Gibson's 'faith-based' film scored so well with Christians? His patriotic melodrama and romanticized violence was already super accessible to mainstream Evangelicalism before Passion ever came along. Aronofsky's previous films, on the other hand, are anything but. And Noah is his baby just as much as Passion was Gibson's. I would have been far, far happier if Aronofsky had built this film on a budget of a couple million, even if it had forced him to go with a minimalistic production. At least then it would have been under the saving grace of (relative) obscurity.
  6. Dear god, I said this just over a year ago? Remind me not to so hastily form such brash opinions about that which I simply don't yet understand. PATHS OF GLORY is phenomenal. EYES WIDE SHUT is beautiful. DR. STRANGELOVE is hugely entertaining. And 2001 is... well, beyond words. Consider me a very recent Kubrick convert. So glad I decided to give these films second and third chances. Still can't quite connect with CLOCKWORK ORANGE.. in fact, I'm still repulsed by the thought of it.. but that's probably just me. Who knows what my opinion will be next year.
  7. Haha, not that I'm aware. It would seem as though my particular surname is more common than one might think. Also, I am Canadian!
  8. I hate trying to figure this one out. From TOY STORY onwards, nearly each and every one of Pixar's releases have impacted my deeply in their own unique ways (I think A BUG'S LIFE and CARS 2 were the only ones that never really did anything for me). When I think pure entertainment value, THE INCREDIBLES, FINDING NEMO and MONSTERS INC. are the first ones that come to mind. When I think along the lines of more challenging, heartfelt storytelling, my mind reflects on RATATOUILLE, WALL-E and BRAVE. Everything else pretty much fits comfortably in between, and they're each so strikingly beautiful that ranking them seems a terrible injustice. Since it's freshest in my mind, and since I've spent absurd amounts of time defending it, I'll go against the popular grain and cast my vote in for BRAVE. The other ones hardly need defending, but I'm afraid BRAVE will prove to be severely underrated down the road.
  9. Haven't yet gotten to Kubrick's earlier works, but from SPARTACUS onwards I'd sooner tip my hat to EYES WIDE SHUT than even his more notable films. It's so subtly ambitious it's almost insane, and the hauntingly enigmatic aesthetic alone is, in my humble opinion, easily one of Kubrick's greatest achievements as a personal filmmaker. STRANGELOVE and SPACE ODYSSEY are better suited for the "innovative, experimental" category in my mind
  10. I saw it about a month ago, and I'm afraid the only thing I actually remember in any detail are the scenes with the Sampler and his experiments with sound recording. That was cool. For a few days afterwards I was bothered that I couldn't connect with it. I was creatively inspired by the visuals, and for the reason alone I'd recommend it, but the script itself seemed absolutely and completely pretentious to me, and that's a word I rarely use. Perhaps if it wasn't trying so hard to have an overly complex plot, I could have enjoyed it more along the lines of Malick or otherwise. I saw HOLY MOTORS right afterwards, though, which was totally awesome. So then I didn't feel like such an idiot anymore.
  11. Just finished the book myself. Being privy to the casting rumors beforehand, it was hard not to already picture Joaquin as Doc. That set photo of him is definitely spot-on. edit: And of course Josh Brolin is Bigfoot!
  12. Hook. And I'm pretty certain that if I hadn't watched it as many times as I did when I was growing up, I wouldn't love films as much as I do today,
  13. Hopefully not quite as ridiculous as the title of this thread suggests; I've had a strong desire for the past two years to see the life of Soren Kierkegaard realized in the form of a historical drama film. Beyond obsessively studying his life, I've been tinkering away at a screenplay in my spare time, and doing my best to educate myself on the early nineteenth century backdrop. It's something I dream of somehow seeing produced within the next ten years. God willing. In the meantime, I built this yesterday to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Kierkegaard's birth (May 5th, 1813), taking clips from other films and a remixed version of Mozart's Don Giovanni by Hans Zimmer. I was able to get a few friends to record original voice-overs for the characters of Soren and Regine. I feel it gives a fairly good idea of what I would hope the film to feel like, albeit verging on extreme melodrama (hey, it's movie trailer). Anyways, I hoped there might be at least a couple of people on here who would be able to appreciate this. If you see potential in it, let me know. Thoughts and opinions are appreciated!
  14. I'm not really surprised at the absence of Zimmer or Shore, although I imagine others probably are. I am surprised, however, that neither Brave or Cloud Atlas made the cut. Although, Jonny Greenwood's score was the best of the year by a mile and it didn't make the cut, so I guess I don't really care that much anymore.
  15. It definitely was surprising. I saw it once, and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't what I expected it to be. Then a friend of mine told me about the book, and I was even more surprised at the quality of adaptation. Then I saw it a second time, and was surprised that it not only held up, but seemed to vastly improve before my eyes. It made my personal top ten list for the year, anyway. Not sure how it'll hold up down the road.
  16. Thanks for the brutal honesty, Persona. Those were more or less my thoughts, although I found myself disconnected to such an extent that I barely even remember the ending anymore (I saw it back in October). Perhaps my experience could be improved with a second viewing, but all it really left me with at the time was an impression of disconnected plot fragments and an anti-profound sense of hardcore naturalism. Which is hard to admit, because it seemed to have pretty much all the ingredients I usually love in a good film. Hushpuppy's face off with the prehistoric water buffaloes was definitely a memorable moment, though.
  17. Of all the reviews and thoughts posted here thus far, this is my favorite piece. You've managed to dissect an element of the film that stood out to me, yet I wasn't sure how to go about articulating. Unlike the majority of reactions, most notably Jeffrey's, I never found myself particularly bothered by the incessant closeups because 1) the performances were so surprisingly endearing (especially Bark's), and 2) I'm willing to give Hooper more credit as a director who knows how to frame his shots. King's Speech is a favorite of mine particularly because of the distinct cinematographic choices. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I happen to appreciate Tom Hooper. That being said, I was never drawn in to Les Mis the way I should have been, for many of the reasons already mentioned, but mostly because of pacing. I knew by the second musical number that this film was going to be exhausting, taking us from emotional peak to emotional peak, never resting because there wasn't enough time, and relentless in every regard. It attempts to adapt storytelling elements that work so well in live theater, but fall flat on the film set. I found myself mostly torn, imaging that I was watching the musical and admiring the performances, costumes and sets, yet realizing that I was also watching a movie with terrible pacing and an overstuffed plot. And for that reason, I don't think I could make myself sit through it a second time.
  18. Radagast looked like he stepped straight out of Harry Potter or Narnia or something. I was also pretty amused by the little LOTR 'reunion' in Rivendell, staging the unnecessary cameos of Saruman and Galadriel in one of the many scenes that simply never needed to exist. Gollum's Riddle scene, and the ensuing escape sequence were the only moments during which I felt truly transported back to Middle Earth, recalling my childhood delight at reading the story for the first time. The rest of it felt unnecessary, poorly paced and clumsy. If only I could cut that one part out of this movie, and never have to bother revisiting this huge disappointment ever again.
  19. Probably the greatest thing I've read all day.
  20. Fair enough. Even if Godawa's characterization is only about, say, 70 percent accurate, that's still potentially pretty troubling. Oh possibly. That quote from Aronofsky about Noah being the first environmentalist definitely made me wince. I don't deny that environmentalism is a legitimate topic, but it seems a damn shame to turn the character of Noah into a Gladiator-esque Lorax.
  21. As much as I admire Godawa, and as much as I believe this particular story must be important to him, I find his 'review' to be too sarcastic and presumptuously condescending to take seriously. Perhaps I'm too quick to defend Aronofsky, but I have an impossible time imagining that he would ever create a movie matching Godawa's hasty description.
  22. Jeremy Ratzlaff

    Cloud Atlas

    It really was good. So very, very flawed at times.. but fantastically ambitious. I can't help but enjoy and appreciate very ambitious movies.
  23. I really, really like the fact that he praises films like Ted and the Dark Knight trilogy. He refuses to embody the arrogant, airy 'artsy' persona that I've always imagined for the likes of Kubrick or Malick or other 'great' directors. He's so much more personal and down-to-earth, which consequently makes his films feel likewise. Well, Jeremy, you should know that while Malick rarely says anything that the press can report about him, he is on the record as saying that Zoolander is one of his favorite films. The day I read that was a good day. Hah, wow. Link, by any chance..? That would make me equally happy! EDIT: Never mind, I found it: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-secret-life-of-terrence-malick-2288183.html
  24. Jeremy Ratzlaff

    Cloud Atlas

    I'm a sucker for movies like this. I consider the Wachowski's films to be my guilty pleasure; I *love* The Matrix and V for Vendetta, despite that fact that they're utterly clouded with flawed pretentiousness and overstuffed VFX budgets. I'm probably going to enjoy Cloud Atlas despite how bad it's probably going to be.
  25. I really, really like the fact that he praises films like Ted and the Dark Knight trilogy. He refuses to embody the arrogant, airy 'artsy' persona that I've always imagined for the likes of Kubrick or Malick or other 'great' directors. He's so much more personal and down-to-earth, which consequently makes his films feel likewise.
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