Lion reviews

ITALIANO
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Re: Lion reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:57 pm

Uri wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:
Uri wrote: offering a take on David Irving’s wrong perspective instead of (or at least along with) the right, yet rather obvious one of Deborah Lipstadt


Then don't complain if you get The Reader... :.


If there was a perspective of any kind in The Reader I'm afraid it went over my head.


:D

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Re: Lion reviews

Postby Uri » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:56 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
Uri wrote: offering a take on David Irving’s wrong perspective instead of (or at least along with) the right, yet rather obvious one of Deborah Lipstadt


Then don't complain if you get The Reader... :.


If there was a perspective of any kind in The Reader I'm afraid it went over my head.

ITALIANO
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Re: Lion reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:43 pm

Uri wrote: offering a take on David Irving’s wrong perspective instead of (or at least along with) the right, yet rather obvious one of Deborah Lipstadt


Then don't complain if you get The Reader... :)

There'd be so much to write about this year's movies (which, from what I'm seeing seem to be as a whole a BIT BETTER than those from last year's Oscars). But lack of time prevents me from devoting too much energy to explain - in English! - what I feel about them. I still haven't seen, by the way, the three "big ones" (Manchester By The Sea, La La Land and Moonlight) - but while no masterpieces, there are good things in Hell or High Water and even in Captain Fantastic.

I think Denial is correct but unexciting - not as bad as its reputation and its lack of Oscar talk (never a good sign for a Holocaust movie) imply, but absolutely unmemorable though well-intentioned.

Lion is more involving - how could such a story not be? - and technically expert, but it's true that the Australian part is stronger at portraying its main character's torment (again and again) that at showing in detail HOW he finally finds his roots - it seems more like a matter of luck than anything else. There's a lack of storytelling here, which may be intentional - and a contrast to the first part's almost Dickensian structure - but still underestimates the audience's intelligence (the love story is especially worthless). Strange as it may seem, this will probably be Nicole Kidman's best nominated performance - but her much-praised monologue is confused and not as meaningful as the writers seem to think, and she can't do much with it. Dev Patel - a young, nice actor with an open face which the camera likes - will be nominated for this AND Slumdog Millionaire, but as you say, he's clearly a lead, and it's strange that not many, even on this board, seems to complain.

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Re: Lion reviews

Postby Uri » Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:44 am

I saw Denial yesterday, and the reason I’m mentioning it here is because I find both it and Lion, which I saw about a week ago, to be, basically, non cinematic entities. Yes, they capture visual images and spoken texts on film and feature people pretending to be other (and not accidentally, real) people in order to convey what can be conceived as narrative, but they totally lack that one essential factor, a sense of real, preferably urgent, creative drive. What they do have instead is commitment, a true, sincere Commitment - with a capital K, as Cole Porter would say. I’m sure the people who made these films believe the denial of the Holocaust is bad or children being lost is sad and as many people as possible should be aware of these travesties and maybe, as the card at the end of Lion suggests, be motivated to go online and learn more about it and hopefully DO something. But while all this is rather admirable, it’s not Art nor is it even artistic – it’s public service.

Of course, the filmmakers thought they were making films, so they did apply stuff from whatever filmmaking manual they were following, and in Denial it was mostly all this straight forward American in the maze of the strict Brit legal system, with its dusty law chambers and solicitor/barrister dynamics, making it, especially in regard of the Tom Wilkinson’s character, look like Witness for the Persecution Goes to Auschwitz (and no, it’s not a compliment, btw). This kind of material demands a far more acute and astute approach. A clinical one, or a grotesque one, or offering a take on David Irving’s wrong perspective instead of (or at least along with) the right, yet rather obvious one of Deborah Lipstadt – the notion, key element in Denial, that Irving is not worthy of having his day in court was translated into him, the most intriguing element of the story, not having his day in film (and a total waste of the potentially great Timothy Spall). So, unlike the case with other based-on-true-events films, where despite knowing the outcome there was still tension – intellectual, emotional, suspense-tional, whatever – there was none of it here. At one point, I was hoping for Lipstadt, who was cautioned not to jog in the same route every evening in London, to have some kind of a fictional encounter with an Irving supporter just for the kick of it (and feeling very bad for my perverse, thrill seeking self).

With Lion, the problem is different. I feel it has a lot to do with Privileged White Guilt when dealing with the hardships of those less fortunate, ahm, non-whites. And as is so often the case with holier-that-holy intentions, it’s being executed in a far more strict fashion dealing with the stronger (born as or adopted by) Westerners, whose take on the story is the basis for this film and therefore is being closely followed and guarded, while the earlier part of the story, taking place in India, is mostly, or at least partly, speculated, there for it has a far more narrative freedom to it, and yes, as Sabin said, is far more griping. For all the romanticizing and beautifying of it, it does have some energy to it. The latter part, involving the Brierleys in Australia, is so rigid, so lifeless, I’m sure they were so closely involved with the making of the film so everything regarding them was, totally unnecessarily, kept as close as possible to “what they really were like”. Let me put it like this – I’m sure Sue Brierley is a remarkable person, but she’s not Jacqueline Kennedy, and the elastic waistband slacks and floral shirts she was wearing in the ‘80s were not the pink Channel suit worn by Jackie in Dallas, still her particular look, as seen in her pictures shown at the end of the film, including her particular hairstyle, is meticulously recreated for Nicole Kidman, as if it were iconic - making poor Kidman look even less real-human looking than usual - instead of finding a look right for the character as well as her. Yes, my particular nitpicking has a lot to do with my usual dismissiveness of Kidman as an (non) actress, but it’s also indicative of the film as a whole. There’s no distinction between the essential and the trivial, or worse – so much energy is being spent on the trivial, nothing is left for the more crucial stuff – from the nothingness of the actual detecting process (leading me to doubt the miraculous yet conveniently aggrandizing of a mighty corporation nature of it) to the total lack of interest in the protagonist’s Indian family once they were found.

Now- Denial seems to be (rightfully) out of this year Oscar race, but so should every aspect of Lion be. And Dev Patel is more of a lead than Jeffrey Rush was in Shine. But he’s young and brown.

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Re: Lion reviews

Postby Sabin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:48 pm

Lion is a weird movie and I'm not sure it really could've totally worked. The things that are the most interesting about it sort of doom it in the long run. The first half where we follow young Saroo are fairly gripping. Director Garth Davis and DP Greg Frasier shoot it in a way where it's from the perspective of a lost five year old boy, which is impressive for how uninflected it mostly is. English isn't spoken for the first forty-five minutes or so. Then we leap twenty years into the future and setup the conflicts of Saroo as a young adult, and the film restarts its dramatic tensions by way of becoming thirty minutes of overwritten therapy and narrative water-treading for the character. To his credit, Dev Patel is very good. I've been of fan of his for some time, even his twitchy work in the rather unimpressive The Road Within. But he has to make the shift from well-adjusted to haunted to obsessed A) starting halfway into the movie, B) in a short amount of time, C) that also lags. Really that comes from the fact that this isn't really a story but rather something that happened. Everyone involved with this film (the actors, the director, the cinematographer, the editor, the composers) are very talented but they can only hide that so much. I'll laud it for mostly attempting authentic emotional journey.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Re: Lion reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:43 pm

Lion is definitely from the Philomena strain of Oscar vehicles, though I'd say it's a stronger movie overall. The story is actually quite similar, but inverted -- a young boy, Saroo, separated from his mother, grows up with an adopted family on a different continent, then decides to track down the biological family taken from him by circumstance. Tonally, this movie feels a bit more grounded than Philomena -- with its evil nuns and goofy moments of humor. Lion is pretty sincere throughout, and I imagine it will push the kinds of buttons awards bodies like, given that it's a clear tearjerker, but one that tactfully doesn't dip too much into schmaltz. I should add, for what it's worth, that I'm not immune to having my buttons pushed in this manner -- you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the finale of this movie.

Still, I can't say I thought the movie had a ton of resonance beyond the power of its amazing true-life scenario, especially because 1) we already know the ending, and that's essentially the movie's entire reason for existing and 2) I don't think, on a sheer plot level, the nuts and bolts of how Saroo finds his way home are all that interesting, at least as rendered on film. (I could imagine the details likely brought out in the book might amount to a more engrossing, page-turning mystery). There are definitely thoughtful grace notes along the way -- the guilt Saroo feels about the way fate essentially plucked him from a life of poverty into one of privilege, the conflict he has over whether telling his adoptive parents he wants to find his biological one will make them view him as ungrateful. But there are also elements that feel like a lot of treading water -- I'm sure the romance with Rooney Mara's character is based in fact, but I don't think the movie ever finds a way to make that thread feel relevant to anything else.

Dev Patel has sustained his career surprisingly well since Slumdog Millionaire, but I think this is the first time I've really taken note of him as an actor -- to my (American) ears, he nails the Australian accent, and carries his portion of the movie with both gravitas and charisma. The kid who plays young Saroo is adorable, and anchors his section of the film as well. And Nicole Kidman has a classic supporting actress role -- solid work throughout, and then one knockout monologue. You'll know her Oscar clip when you see it.

I certainly don't have any strong rooting interest against such a heartfelt, well-meaning movie -- it'll likely be my mother's favorite movie of the year -- but Harvey Weinstein has been known to push similar efforts to recognition way beyond their merits in past years, and I'd definitely prefer for that not to happen here.

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Lion reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:46 pm

Variety is for some reason slow to post on this, but these reviews are pretty stellar. It's a Weinstein property, and might be a chance for them to get their mojo back.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/lion-927423

http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/lion ... tentID=592


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