The Reader

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flipp525
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Postby flipp525 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:49 am

Wow. I'm stunned that Kate Winslet won an Oscar for her performance in The Reader. After finally seeing it, it confounds in ways that have already been explored on this board. The entire premise of the film is based on the flimsiest of concepts -- that Hanna would sacrifice herself to hide her illiteracy. It reduces the Holocaust to a stage prop in a pedophilia porn show. A completely missable film.

And, quite honestly, Winslet is miscast. Her accent is wobbly, her performance lacks nuance; Nicole Kidman, the original Hanna, would've been a better choice.

Kate was easily the worst of the five nominees last year so, naturally, she had to win. I much preferred her work in Revolutionary Road.

The clear standout of the film is Lena Olin in a beautifully realized two-pronged cameo.




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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:44 pm

--Bog wrote:
--Mister Tee wrote:Second best film of the decade, after Children of Men.

At risk of spinning this thread farther away from the shit on The Reader fest...Tee, and everyone else, I would be intrigued to read the other 3 or 8 films you'd list at the top of this first segment of the new millennium.

As you may have noticed, I don't do alot of lists (though I certainly look at everyone else's). It's partly from being dissatisfied with just putting things down coldly, without annotation -- I tend to want to shoot my mouth off about everything -- and also partly that the difference between number three and number ten (or even twelve) can get awfully arbitrary. I do keep private lists, but even I look back a year or two after the fact and say, What were you thinking putting that in your top ten?

The only reason I mentioned the two I did is because they do jump out as the two truly transcendent movie experiences I've had this decade. After that's alot murkier.

However...since I've spent literally the entire decade sharing opinions with you derelicts, I guess I'll try and put together a best of decade list. But I'd rather wait till we reach 2010. Many of the "9" years have been movie-memorable -- '39 is famous, but I think quite highly of '59, '69, '79 and '99. So, I'm hoping another classic (or even two) will appear before I have to commit myself to an iron-clad 10.




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Postby Bog » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:57 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Second best film of the decade, after Children of Men.

At risk of spinning this thread farther away from the shit on The Reader fest...Tee, and everyone else, I would be intrigued to read the other 3 or 8 films you'd list at the top of this first segment of the new millennium.

In other news, I have a lot of Todd Haynes still to go, but I'm closer to Tee than Magilla on Far From Heaven and more with Flipp and Sabin in general.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:40 pm

Sabin wrote:Far From Heaven hasn't aged well

I've watched the film several times on IFC, and marveled at it anew each time. Second best film of the decade, after Children of Men.

Sometimes you could confuse the consensuses achieved here with opinion in the real world. Haynes is a unique talent, even if I don't 100% love each one of his films. Daldry makes bland, tasteful "art".

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Postby Sabin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:05 pm

I don't know where it's coming from. If Todd Haynes is being penalized for making movies about ideas at the expense of his characters at times, then essentially you're complaining his overreach. I haven't seen Superstar yet but I hear it's his strongest film. Far From Heaven hasn't aged well but Velvet Goldmine, I'm Not There, and especially Safe are brilliant evocations that intermittently eschew intimate character relation and development for ideas. He's certainly not for everyone, but Stephen Daldry cannot be mentioned in the same breath as him. One is an American original, and another is an Academy redundant.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby flipp525 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:54 pm

Where is the Todd Haynes hate coming from? I think he's wonderful. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is brilliant.



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"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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Postby Heksagon » Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:52 pm

All right, that's not what you're saying. But in that case we're disagreeing on the subject.

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Postby Sabin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:57 pm

No, that's absolutely not what I'm saying.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby Heksagon » Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:01 pm

Sabin wrote:Todd Haynes doesn't make films about people. He makes films about subjects.

If that's an apologetic way of saying that Haynes can't write characters or direct actors, then fine.

I haven't seen Safe, but I have seen Far from Heaven and that is my candidate for the critically most overrated film of all time. I have never seen another film where lead actors have so little chemistry with each others.

(Although I could add that there is one thing that a lot directors could learn from Haynes: how to hire a good cinematographer and a good composer. The fact that even these things do nothing to save Far from Heaven just underlines the fact how poor a director he is)




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Postby Sabin » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:57 pm

I don't have a lot of use for Greengrass but The Bourne Ultimatum is totally sweet. Just a completely terrific summer blockbuster.

Todd Haynes doesn't make films about people. He makes films about subjects. Safe transcends that, but I'm Not There doesn't have to. I just indulgently dig, dig, dig it.

Billy Elliot is fine. I feel like it was an important step for Daldry in becoming the most prominent purveyor of menopause and undeserved Oscar nominations of our time. He wants to Stanley Kramer America's ovaries to death.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:39 pm

dreaMaker wrote:@Big Magilla, about The Reader...
I think the most important line in the whole story is when Hanna says - ''It doesn't matter what I think, It doesn't matter what I feel, the dead are still dead.''
And this is, very intentionally, the true 'answer' to all of our questions about Hanna AND Michael. It simply doesn't matter.

But it does matter, that was the whole point of her learning to read, of trying in her small way to make amends with her meager savings given to Olin's character.

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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:37 pm

I forgot Haynes directed I'm Not There, anther film I didn't like - more than didn't like. I didn't buy the conceit of all those Dylans and I certainly didn't buy Cate Blanchett. At least it was better than Safe.

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Postby Okri » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:10 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Greengrass belongs in a discussion with Michael Bay and McG, not Daldry. Todd Haynes gets an A for effort in my book, but his style overwhelms the substance in his films. Far From Heaven is beautiful to look at, but atrocious to listen to. The two Dennises (Quaid and Haysbert) do excellent work but Julianne Moore's affected vocal delivery is appalling and Patricia Clarkson is such a pale imitation of Agnes Moorehead in All That Heaven Allows that I've approached every film's she's been in since with trepidation, really liking her only in The Station Agent.

And you say we're merciless? Wow.

I love Haynes, though not always - but I'll stick to my guns and say that I'm Not There is a truly great film, an audacious experiment that says a lot about art and artifice, and struck me as a powerfully moving film. Far From Heaven works less for me as time goes by. Safe is brilliant.

Greengrass I enjoy. The Bourne Ultimatum is one of the great action films of the decade - and I'd place it on the same level as The French Connection and Z, if not higher. And there's a reason Bloody Sunday was earning comparisons to The Battle of Algiers when it first came out.

Daldry? I don't dislike him like Sabin. I liked Billy Elliot fine enough, but it's not a great film. I didn't even hate The Hours, though I doubt I'd sit through it again. I defiantly won't sit through The Reader again, though.

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Postby dreaMaker » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:43 pm

@Big Magilla, about The Reader...
I think the most important line in the whole story is when Hanna says - ''It doesn't matter what I think, It doesn't matter what I feel, the dead are still dead.''
And this is, very intentionally, the true 'answer' to all of our questions about Hanna AND Michael. It simply doesn't matter.

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Postby Bog » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:11 am

Big Magilla wrote:Still it was good enough for me to consider it the year's fourth best film behind Button, Slumdog and Milk.

My dream social experiment is to take away the internet, newspaper, tv, and any other media...hand out 100 or so films from a year, have them viewed, and rated before contact with the media world is restored. Then compare the lists- because I really really believe (I guess hope) deep down this is just not entirely true.

Daldry is barely competent and The Reader is just straight weak. I am not merciless, however, as opposed to Sabin I'll keep going to that well, to give him more chances...at least for the foreseeable future.


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