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Everything posted by Rushmore

  1. I agree with pretty much all of this (which is saying a lot, as our taste in movies seems to be quite dramatically different). I loved the Walk itself, but the film as a whole is all but ruined by the chatterbox narration. (FWIW, though, Kristin Thompson defends the narration.) One thing I found particularly lame was how in the earlier parts of the film Petit, in France, kept wanting to talk with other French people in English, supposedly for practice. This seemed like a blatant maneuver to avoid inflicting subtitles on the American audience.
  2. I thought the opening title (where the words "The Martian" appear on screen) was similar to the equivalent in Alien. This shot - which showed a planetary horizon from orbit, as I recall - also seemed like a nod to 2001, so it would be fair to say the first moments of the film really throw down the gauntlet. (There was a similar effect in the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow, which featured a song with the words "This is not the end" and thus invited comparison to Apocalypse Now. But that was just a trailer; I don't think that song was in the actual film.) As for the movie itself, I really liked it. It's at least as well visualized as Interstellar and Gravity, and it lacks the dramatic (and probably scientific) flaws of either one. What it does with the surface of Mars is amazing. It's alien, majestic, and awesome, but it also looks like a real place rather than a special effect.
  3. I got Moonrise Kingdom and #1 in the Eclipse Series, "Early Bergman". (Anyone else love the Eclipse series? Some of them are great companion pieces to films in the main collection. They have a Chantal Akerman one that looks good, for example.)
  4. 50% off SRP flash sale until noon tomorrow.
  5. I've posted much less lately, due to a relocation with a new job, etc., and before that a shortage of Internet access. However, I'm still around and hope to ramp up my A&F activity again soon.
  6. A Woman Under the Influence is a better version of Infinitely Polar Bear. Well, that's not quite right. IPB is more like A Woman Under the Influence combined with a version of The Shining where Jack has the personality of an overeager puppy who just wants to be loved.
  7. Not sure if this is quite what you're looking for, but:
  8. Two things: 1. Pause the blu-ray and read all those newspapers that flash by at various times. They're pretty great. (I don't know if they're readable in SD, so this may be a blu-ray only feature.) 2. During the reading of the will, when Kovacs plops the box of documents on the table, he says, "This is Madame D's last will and testament..." Is this a reference to another great cinematic Madame de....? It would be appropriate thematically. Both films are about interrogating old-world elegance.
  9. The capsule reviews are almost disturbingly well done. Satirical (but also sincere, as I assume your actual ranking is) criticism is an underexplored field.
  10. Good writeup. FWIW, here's mine. SDG, do you have a follow-up? What films did your friend end up choosing?
  11. At the very least, I can say that this WAY better than The Fault in Our Stars. Not that I didn't like the latter, but Me and Earl is an actual movie, with drama and camerawork and everything. The spoofs and other references to classic films are hilarious. You could almost play a drinking game with the onscreen appearances of the Criterion logo.
  12. I'm very sad. The Dissolve was one of my favorite sites. I'm even more sad about Filmwell, due to its connection to this community.
  13. Ok, I'm sure you're right, I haven't seen most of those. And on re-watching the trailer, "Baba O'Riley" is used fairly well, I guess. But I still hate the use of "All I Do Is Win," which just feels weirdly out of place. And I don't think I'm confining Peanuts to a narrowly circumscribed aesthetic of cute unthreateningness to say I really hope they don't throw in a bunch of pop songs at random moments, because I think that would hurt the core appeal of honesty and simplicity that Peanuts has always had (even if sometimes it has had things in it I wouldn't expect). Tone is tricky, and the old films had something unique about their tone, and I think it's going to be difficult for this film to catch and maintain that tone, and too many attempts to appeal to pop culture references a la Shrek or Mastermind or Madagascar would be bad for such a tone. Oh, I completely agree. I'm still deeply skeptical about the whole thing.
  14. Not since Christmas, IIRC, except for a recent email offering a special deal on Magic Tree House books. (I did indeed buy a number of those at B&N fifteen or so years ago. Apparently they're still a thing.) 50% off at B&N, of course (without additional coupons), is more like 1/3 off the criterion.com price, but I know I'll end up getting something anyway. Probably one of the three box sets I've wanted for some time: Three Colors, Rossellini's War Trilogy, or the Ingrid Bergman/Rossellini trilogy that includes Voyage to Italy.
  15. I don't agree that Anna is a cipher for most of the film. Actually, I thought her character was an exquisite portrait of an introverted, imaginative girl thrown into difficult and uncongenial social situations. Her actions all made perfect sense to me. And her friendship with Marnie is the sort of delicately sketched relationship that, since it takes so much quiet time to develop, would be unthinkable in American animation even without the suggestion of something threatening to become more than friendship - the hint of desire, the touch of romance.
  16. Is this entirely out of keeping with the spirit of the original? It's been a while since I've read it, but didn't Peter have, if not a prophetic, a strongly fatalistic sense of the battle between him and Hook? At any rate, part of being a boy like Peter is a highly dramatic sense of life. So a prophecy about Peter doesn't strike me as absurd, as long as Peter doesn't take it too seriously - or not for too long.
  17. I don't know. The trippy, densely packed "space" environment is nifty, but...I wish there was something more to reassure us it won't be Hook. It sounds bizarre to say I'll see this because I liked the director's Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina, but that's the truth.
  18. I think this is a good point, and my main source of dissatisfaction after seeing the film a second time. Riley's fears are one-dimensional, shallow, in fact stereotyped. This (it seems to me) keeps certain parts of the film from having the impact they should have. I don't know, though. That sounds like a harsher criticism than I mean it to be. This is still a brilliant movie that stands with the best of Pixar's work. If its venture into the subconscious doesn't cut as deep as it could, Riley's reunion with her parents (the only part that made me cry) is still incredibly moving. Details like this reveal acute sensitivity and genuine psychological insight, and make it easy to forgive the lack of "Dostoyevskyan angst." By the way, I only picked up on the movie's funniest line the second time through: "Forget it, Jake. It's Cloudtown."
  19. I don't watch much TV, but one title that should be mentioned is Avatar: The Last Airbender (haven't seen its sequel, The Legend of Korra). Forget the M. Night movie. The original series, three seasons long, is quite surprisingly good. The most impressive thing about it is the variety: unlike most shows, it's really a different game in every episode. Many episodes are vastly different genre send-ups, from wire-fu to western to Bergmanesque chamber drama, and nearly all of this material really works. As I recall, it should be appropriate for just about all ages, unless some of the fight scenes are too overwhelming for the very young. An early-adolescent romance is one of the major plot threads, but it's delicately handled.
  20. I would say almost the opposite - that the imperfection of the original animation is crucial. CGI is too perfect, and it ends up emphasizing the physical implausibility of the character design (Charlie Brown's spherical head, etc.) and looking awkward. This is not true. Vince Guaraldi is the heart and soul of Peanuts music, to be sure, the sine qua non, but it's not that exclusive. Consider the frankly sentimental title song of A Boy Named Charlie Brown crooned by Rod McKuen. Or consider the one where the baseball team's pre-game Hokey Pokey leads into a hip-hop number by Franklin, complete with breakdancing (yes, really). Or consider Flashbeagle (see above), which is basically an extended parody of the popular music of the 80s inspired by the movie Flashdance. Or consider Snoopy: The Musical, a strange spectacle which balloons simple gags from the comic strip into full-scale Broadway songs, including an Al Jolson imitation by Snoopy. Sure, not all of this stuff is equally good, and certainly some is dated. But too many people forget that Schulz was an artist, not a franchise-perpetuating bureaucratic machine. He did this for fifty years. Of course he made some experiments, and of course the results were mixed. But it's far better to admit this than to nostalgically restrict Peanuts to a narrowly circumscribed aesthetic that conforms to people's expectations for a cute, unthreatening brand. This is why The Complete Peanuts is so important - it shows us the strip as it really was, not as the public imagination has remade it. It wasn't free of politics any more than it was free of pop culture. We shouldn't talk about Peanuts while forgetting that in the 70s Snoopy tried to make a speech asking why dogs could be drafted but couldn't vote, was interrupted by a riot, and emerged choking with tear gas, or that in the 80s the kids all attended a "Jesus camp" where they were told the world was about to end by a church that was nevertheless asking for donations for a new building. Schulz's toolbox included a satirist's skewer, and he could wield it like a pro. All of this is to say that I agree in disliking the music in the trailer, but that has everything to do with its being uninteresting, and nothing to do with its not belonging to the spirit of classic Peanuts, which can accommodate more and bolder experimentation than the movie is likely to include.
  21. It looks like a mishmash of all the Peanuts cartoons ever made. Mostly A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, and - this is weird - Flashbeagle. (Does the name Flashbeagle mean anything to anyone else? It's exactly what it sounds like. The 80s were a strange time.) The musical choices are disappointing. A few days after seeing the trailer twice, I can't remember what any of the songs sound like. As for the visuals, I still think what I thunk before. Schultz's art - or any imitation of such - does not and can not work in three dimensions or with computer-rendered textures.
  22. I'd also be interested in seeing something on how the film makes use of the anthropological work of Paul Ekman (who gets a thank-you in the credits, confirming my speculation), if it turns out there's anything there besides the identities of the five emotions in the film. I'm sometimes tempted to do this, but fear of distracting others - or, to be more honest, fear of embarrassment when people give me funny looks - holds me back. I suppose another solution would be to momentarily leave the theater, which no one would think strange during the trailers.
  23. This, this is why I go into movies cold. I didn't seek them out, man. What was I supposed to do, arrive fifteen minutes late to every movie for the last six months to make sure I didn't see any trailers?
  24. Intellectually, I fully agree with SDG and Cogsworth. This is one of Pixar's most inventive films, I'm pretty sure it's their most perfectly constructed one not named Toy Story, and its layers of metaphor and psychological insight, like the child of Calvin and Hobbes and The Phantom Tollbooth, make it a rich feast for the mind by the standards of any category of film - not just Pixar, animation, etc. Emotionally, it didn't hit me the way many Pixar films do, but I don't see that this is due to any flaw in the film. The trailers, which gave away most of the plot, could be partly to blame. It doesn't matter in any case. I'm looking forward to revisiting this as soon as possible.
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