The Official Review Thread of 2010

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OscarGuy
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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:58 pm

Well, Branson is very bright and urban looking, since it's a big tourist attraction with lots of bright, neon lights and heavy traffic, so unless they found some very small area outside the city to shoot, there can't be much there.

I'll have to watch it one day.
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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:55 pm

OscarGuy wrote:It would help if I'd seen it, I guess. Where does it take place exactly? Do they mention a town?

IMDB says Branson and Forsyth...but I thought I'd seen other names in the end credits. Wherever it is is VERY rustic.

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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:44 pm

It would help if I'd seen it, I guess. Where does it take place exactly? Do they mention a town?
Wesley Lovell

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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:15 pm

OscarGuy wrote:Well, considering I've grown up in the area or lived around these types of folks my entire life, I guess I'll have to see this in order to refute its stereotypes...My concern though is that this will be yet another stone thrown at the small Midwestern towns and cities because it's the only depiction most people get...backwoods isn't the best description for this area at all times, though there are places, so I wonder just how "authentic" this is and whether it gives any proper balance against stereotypes.

Well, it's filmed on location, for whatever that's worth.

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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:00 pm

Well, considering I've grown up in the area or lived around these types of folks my entire life, I guess I'll have to see this in order to refute its stereotypes...My concern though is that this will be yet another stone thrown at the small Midwestern towns and cities because it's the only depiction most people get...backwoods isn't the best description for this area at all times, though there are places, so I wonder just how "authentic" this is and whether it gives any proper balance against stereotypes.
Wesley Lovell

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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:05 pm

My reaction to Winter's Bone is, first, a sigh of relief, and then a solid round of applause. I had a real "Do I HAVE TO see this?" approach to the film -- having been burned by critics on far too many honest/heartfelt/boring tales of the backwoods. One wag saying it wasn't "quite as good as Frozen River" threw a particular scare into me. But, pleasant surprise: it's a narratively lean, compelling look at a culture that might as well be inter-planetary for most of us, and every moment in it rings true.

Structurally, the film works like a detective story, though not one where the solution is the most important element -- we follow Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) trying to figure out where her father's gone to, for the very simple, impelling reason that she'll lose her house otherwise. Her search takes her into the depths of her community, with the result that, texturally, the film has the feel of a rural western. But it's a modern day version of that community -- a land of inbreeding and meth labs, roadkill-eating and, though it never comes up, probably Sarah Palin adoration. This is the part of Missouri more properly called Missour-uh, and the filmmakers take us deep inside it without ever striking a false note. (Though I could have done without one or two directorial flourishes, like putting Ree in an analogous position to livestock -- an overly explicit metaphor the film doesn't need)

The dialogue is terse but resonant, and the performances are nicely submerged to the milieu. I'm not aware of having seen Lawrence before, so Ive nothing to judge against, but she's splendid here -- full of longing and determination and practicality. Even her clear beauty doesn't stand out in the landscape -- she's the best looking woman in the cast (Sheryl Lee would have been, ten years ago), but she's not the gazelle among warthogs Jessica Lange was in Country.

I don't want to oversell this: it's a small film. But a very solid one, and a pleasure I truly didn't anticipate.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:27 pm

Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos)

Oh, Jesus, this movie.

So Dogtooth is a movie that would be beneficial to go in cold. In spoiling what it is about (two parents decide to rear their children entirely inside the house/compound; now they are in their early 20's, have never left, and things start to go wrong), I am still not spoiling how exactly Lanthimos gets his point across in a series of evocative vignettes without a shred of exposition and laden with comically off dialogue. Yes, these kids are in their early 20's. They do not know what a cat is. Every profanity they might have encountered in their years has been "explained" as something else. Dogtooth is like humanity as God's failed experiment, and ultimately it's just going to go where it's going to go.

I think it earns its pat black ending, because what has come prior is so determined in its use of scenes like stepping stones. It's almost as if Lanthimos films this movie like he is maintaining this compound. It works to create an eeriness I haven't felt in a while. He's clearly inspired by Buñuel. Dogtooth ultimately isn't about a ton; one can take away a basic truth about society, but really that's it. But it's an amazing what-the-fuck? I can see a lot of people on this Board hating it, dismissing it as one note. I think it's one of the best films of the year.
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Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:18 am

And yet, the stupid thing still made $40M at the box office over the weekend. Very disappointing...all I can hope for is a stiff drop next weekend. And, apparently, I didn't realize he even directed The Happening, so I had entirely forgotten one of his films...but this one has almost made more in one weekend than his last two films...so, he's not box office poison sadly...

Rumor has it that Bradley Cooper may have departed Shyamalan's next film. He's saying that The Hangover 2 may prevent him from being in it, but I wonder if his press agent saw too many bombs on his horizon and decided not to risk it.

One of the things that also amazed me about this is how it basically just dumps off at the end. There's no denouement. It's like "BAM! we're done. Let's move on." It's as if without the twist ending he doesn't know how/where to end a movie.

And let's get something straight here, he actually DID write the film, which explains a great deal about its inability to draw characters (all of them were explained in voice over or not at all). SPOILERS AHEAD How do you just say that "so and so became fast friends" without showing their transition. At the koi pond when the white princess (don't have any clue what her name was even and don't feel like looking it up) goes through her epihany and sacrifices herself, while a nice moment (the only nice one in the film, IMO), you still can't muster up any emotional response, especially not for the kid having lost his "love". Did he love her? We're basically told he did and we're supposed to believe he did, but I not only didn't believe it, I didn't care.
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Postby kaytodd » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:34 pm

My sentiments exactly Oscarguy. I was surprised Shyalaman's name was used so prominently in the promotion of the film. I assumed he would have been box office poison some time ago.

This was a disappointment. I always thought he had talent as a director. In all of his films there are wonderful images and set pieces. But he writes these lame stories that do not give talented actors much to work with. I was happy that, for the first time, Shyalaman was going to work with someone else's material. This would allow him to break his habit of silly plot twists that make the story less rather than more interesting.

And he had something good to work with. With my kids, I have seen several episodes of the Avatar animated series. Compared to other series, its stories and characters are intelligent. In talented hands, a live action version could appeal to young children all the way up to young adults. But all of the dialogue in the film is silly, like something you would expect from an animated series marketed to children. But I never thought the TV series was loaded with silly dialogue. And it seems that Shyalaman tried to tell the entire detailed back story of the Avatar world as well as tell a complex tale. The result is truly extraordinary: a plot that is both over simplified and impossible to follow.

The performances are all truly awful. The three major child actors are wooden, especially the one who played the lead character, Aang. Jake Lloyd should should be relieved. Right through The Happening Shyalaman was able to attract A-list talent and, beginning with Signs, I have been disappointed in their performances. It is hard to explain, but it seemed that Mel Gibson, Cherry Jones, Joaquin Phoenix, Paul Giamatti, Zoe Deschanel, Mark Wahlberg, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver, etc. were trying but they all seemed to be in different films from their fellow actors. I wonder if they were frustrated as filming went on and they could see things were not going to work out.

In The Last Airbender, the only actors I had heard of are the very talented Cliff Curtis and Dev Patel (not familiar with his work, other than his serviceable work in Slumdog). And they did not appear to be enjoying themselves or even in character sometimes. I wonder what that set was like.

I saw Airbender in 2-D. I have never seen a 3-D conversion that was worth the extra money. Why was everything so dark? It looks like Shyalaman had some good set pieces going but the darkness lessened the effect.

I guess Shyalaman is just not the talent I thought he was. There is no way he thought that script was ready for the cameras, or to even be sent out to agents. There is no way he watched the dailies and the performances and thought they were ready to move onto the next scene. There is no way he went through the post production process and thought this was ready for audiences. I am not sure he can make a good film even if he focuses just on directing and has nothing to do with the script. One thing is certain: he should never be given total control or final cut. He lost that privilege.




Edited By kaytodd on 1278279352
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Postby OscarGuy » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:43 am

I have dubbed M. Night's new film "The Last Shyamalan". It means two things to me. The first is that it marks the very last time I will give anything with his name attached a chance. Second, it's either a hopeful thought or a prophetic statement that this will be his last film, or at least the last one studios throw money at him for. Worst film of the year and Transformers 2 is a good film in comparison.

1/10 (or half-star for some of the design elements)
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Postby Reza » Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:23 am

anonymous wrote:
Reza wrote:
anonymous wrote:KNIGHT AND DAY
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Celia Weston.
Dir: James Mangold.

It's a very interesting concept: It's basically a James Bond movie from the point of view of the Bond girl. It isn't that memorable but it is entertaining and Cruise and Diaz make for an appealing team. That said, the film is silly and never really is as good as it's concept. It's inoffensive fluff.

Oscar Prospects: Maybe Original Song?

Grade: C+

With all that noise, don't you think the sound department may get a shot?

Doubtful. Too many other Sound contenders that have better critical notices and box-office. There's nothing really that stands out as truly outstanding in this one.

Funny but I don't even remember any song in the film. Was it during the closing credits? If it was, I was so desperate to get out of the cinema when the film ended that I must have missed it.

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:06 am

Reza wrote:
anonymous wrote:KNIGHT AND DAY
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Celia Weston.
Dir: James Mangold.

It's a very interesting concept: It's basically a James Bond movie from the point of view of the Bond girl. It isn't that memorable but it is entertaining and Cruise and Diaz make for an appealing team. That said, the film is silly and never really is as good as it's concept. It's inoffensive fluff.

Oscar Prospects: Maybe Original Song?

Grade: C+

With all that noise, don't you think the sound department may get a shot?

Doubtful. Too many other Sound contenders that have better critical notices and box-office. There's nothing really that stands out as truly outstanding in this one.

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Postby Reza » Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:43 pm

anonymous wrote:KNIGHT AND DAY
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Celia Weston.
Dir: James Mangold.

It's a very interesting concept: It's basically a James Bond movie from the point of view of the Bond girl. It isn't that memorable but it is entertaining and Cruise and Diaz make for an appealing team. That said, the film is silly and never really is as good as it's concept. It's inoffensive fluff.

Oscar Prospects: Maybe Original Song?

Grade: C+

With all that noise, don't you think the sound department may get a shot?

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:01 am

KNIGHT AND DAY
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Celia Weston.
Dir: James Mangold.

It's a very interesting concept: It's basically a James Bond movie from the point of view of the Bond girl. It isn't that memorable but it is entertaining and Cruise and Diaz make for an appealing team. That said, the film is silly and never really is as good as it's concept. It's inoffensive fluff.

Oscar Prospects: Maybe Original Song?

Grade: C+

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Postby Precious Doll » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:53 am

As much as I enjoyed I Am Love the specific event that leads to the resolution has been seen to better effect in other films. Also I really could have done without 'that much' of Tilda in the sex scene.

Some critics have complained about the score, which is very much from the Philip Glass school of film scoring, though I thought it was effective and complementary to the film.
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