12 Years a Slave reviews

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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:44 pm

I haven't written my thoughts here about any movie in a long while, nor will I begin now. However, I find 12 Years a Slave one of the best films of the year. I still have time to think about what will go into my #1 spot, but this film will be a contender.
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:32 pm

I have very little time or energy to see a movie anymore, let alone write about it. But someone here has got to be a full-fledged champion of this film, and I'll be glad to do it. Except for a few uneven moments (mostly in the first 30 minutes) and performances, I thought this was extraordinary work. Fierce, heartsick, provocative without hectoring, it practically spits outrage at the U.S., at the free-market system taken to its logical means-justifies-the-ends extremes, at the rationalizations and false comforts of religion, at the thievery of identity and personhood. And all throughout, the film maintains a very high level of sophistication, visually, tonally and thematically. Yeah, this is the real thing, and not just a film to reflexively appreciate for its intentions. I'm looking over some of the criticisms that have been given here, and I have to disagree - in fact, I'm a little puzzled - with most (not all) of them..... but that will have to be for another time, if ever. Maybe there are better films than 12 Years a Slave that I just haven't seen yet, but I would be very happy if this won the Oscar.
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Eric » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:57 am

Can you imagine the sort of hand-wringing THAT movie would've led to?!

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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:17 am

Eric wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:Overall, I'm generally very much in line with Mister Tee -- I thought the movie was quite good, though not at the masterpiece level many critics found it to be.

Me three, though it's at the very least a marked step up from Shame (tho even in saying that I have reservations that McQueen, as MD'A pointed out, got there by invoking the spirit of Norman Jewison). My favorite scenes are the ones that seem from a radically different movie, though. Alfre Woodard made, in her 3 or so minutes of screen time, a more distinct impression on me than Lupita Nyong'o.

I'd love to see an entire movie devoted to exploring Alfre Woodard's character. She did a lot with very little screentime (almost reminded me of Lynn Redgrave in Kinsey, opening the door to let us catch a quick glimpse into what must've been a very interesting life).
Last edited by flipp525 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:58 pm

Don't feel like posting a cohesive review but rather just a smattering of thoughts echoing or rebuffing the choir. I should start by saying that I'm emotionally wrecked by this film right now:

* Those twelve years fly right by. Not just in that it doesn't feel like twelve years in the life of Solomon but also in the span of the film. This is the quickest 2 1/2 hour film I've ever seen. It really could have been longer. We're given so little time with Solomon before he is kidnapped that I felt a little distanced from him throughout. Part of that feels product of Steve McQueen's tendency to observe human beings as physical bodies rather than, y',know, people. Likewise, when the 12 years are over I felt like I wasn't quite done with Solomon's story, that there was more to be told. This is an odyssey and insomuch I felt as though there was a final leg of the journey untaken. This is a very well-written and very well-edited film, so I'm not sure which is to blame. A director too preoccupied with the physical horrors of slavery to keep his eye on the story?

* Let's talk horror. Indeed, Steve McQueen has turned Solomon Northup's life into a parade of physical and emotional horrors and he's absolutely gotten away with it because Chiwetel Ejiofer never lets Solomon become a simple point of view character. He's both observer and participant. It's a tightrope they're all walking, for sure, but the marriage of physical horrors with constant threat (fucking constant!), an alert, at times life-of-the-mind protagonist (the opening sequence especially made me year for a similarly cerebral approach throughout), and scenes that serve to either spout slavery ideologies or minutiae kept me constantly engaged.

* This is an original score, right? Because it's as if Hans Zimmer's score from The Thin Red Line procreated with Hans Zimmer's score from Inception. An incredibly disorienting-scored section on a boat early on aside, it uses music well.

* Festival hype can be fucking toxic. Shall we call it "The Lupita Nyong'o Clause?" What is the purpose of a heretofore unseen performer to blend in seamlessly into the film and then emerge as the most heartbreaking figure of the film if everyone is watching the movie and asking "Which of these black girls I've never seen before is supposed to be Lupita Nyong'o?" Yes, she is good, very good, excellent. But what about Adepero Oduye as Eliza? Neither characters get their due in this cruel world [purposefully] but her argument with Solomon is one of the high-points of the film and her character is so moving.

* I'm not sold on this one as an Oscar juggernaut. At this point, anything beating it for most nominations is pretty unlikely, but what is it going to win? Cinematography, Film Editing, and Sound Mixing are all deserving but they're not flashy enough. In the year of The Great Gatsby, no Art Direction and Costume Design. Score? It's possible if only to retroactively give Hans an Oscar for the aforementioned films. Lupita Nyong'o? Maybe, but I'm not sold. Michael Fassbender? Maybe, but he's completely irredeemably evil (not cool evil like Bardem, Ledger, and Waltz) and has to go up against the most heartbreakingly wonderful transgender woman most voters have ever seen. Ejiofer? I hope so, but it's a tight field. Steve McQueen? If he can ward off Alfonso Cuaron, yes. It's not quite in Argo territory where it almost can't win more than three, but it's not far off.

* At times I was reminded of William Goldman's essay deriding Saving Private Ryan as a back-slappingly "important" film ("back-slapping" pertaining specifically to the importance of all those involved not flinching away from violence). As far as back-slappingly important historical remembrance odysseys go, this is a keeper for me that seems designed to wake the fuck up people who, as Louie C.K. put it, act like slavery happened four thousand years ago. It's a very good one.
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Eric » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:38 pm

The Original BJ wrote:Overall, I'm generally very much in line with Mister Tee -- I thought the movie was quite good, though not at the masterpiece level many critics found it to be.

Me three, though it's at the very least a marked step up from Shame (tho even in saying that I have reservations that McQueen, as MD'A pointed out, got there by invoking the spirit of Norman Jewison). My favorite scenes are the ones that seem from a radically different movie, though. Alfre Woodard made, in her 3 or so minutes of screen time, a more distinct impression on me than Lupita Nyong'o.

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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby flipp525 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:10 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
Reza wrote:
OscarGuy wrote:The people who are predicting Redford to win are probably the same people who keep saying that the year's aging star will take home the Oscar because they are beloved and that is seldom true.


That's always been my contention over and over and yes, I'm always proven wrong :)

Yet I'm still hoping for a Redford win.

And no I haven't seen his performance. I'm like most of the older Academy members who vote for friends without having seen any or all of the performances.

Yeah, except Redford already has two Oscars, including that career achievement one eleven years ago. Plus he's up against what appears to be an unstoppable Chiwetel Ejiofor with Matthew McConnaughey chomping on his heels. His first acting nomination in forty years, though, seems assured.

My pony in the beloved aging star stakes this year is, as I have said, Judi Dench who I am still predicting over critics' darling Cate Blanchett.

Oh, Big Magilla. You are so funny with these old lady bids year after year.

Have you seen Blue Jasmine though? Why throw your weight towards a performance you haven't even seen over one you (probably) have? It's so bizarre and actually quite ageist.
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:31 pm

The trailer is up on IMDb. as well.

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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:39 am

You can also watch the trailer on apple's trailer website.
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby ksrymy » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:21 am

mlrg wrote:Jared Leto will be nommed for Dallas Buyers Club. Check out the trailer at youtube

Since YouTube is blocked in Pakistan, all you need to know, Reza, is that Leto is a more intimate John Lithgow in The World According to Garp.
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby mlrg » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:48 am

Reza wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Supporting Actor is strictly between Michael Fassbender and Jared Leto.


Leto? For which film? I have no clue this year who's got a serious shot apart from the Slaves actors, Oprah and Sandra Bullock.

Who are the contenders this year?


Jared Leto will be nommed for Dallas Buyers Club. Check out the trailer at youtube

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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby FilmFan720 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:02 am

How can you have a pony in the race if you haven't seen the pony yet (or in this case the pony's film)??? I will never understand that...
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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Reza » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:21 am

Big Magilla wrote:My pony in the beloved aging star stakes this year is, as I have said, Judi Dench who I am still predicting over critics' darling Cate Blanchett.


:)

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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:49 am

Reza wrote:
OscarGuy wrote:The people who are predicting Redford to win are probably the same people who keep saying that the year's aging star will take home the Oscar because they are beloved and that is seldom true.


That's always been my contention over and over and yes, I'm always proven wrong :)

Yet I'm still hoping for a Redford win.

And no I haven't seen his performance. I'm like most of the older Academy members who vote for friends without having seen any or all of the performances.

Yeah, except Redford already has two Oscars, including that career achievement one eleven years ago. Plus he's up against what appears to be an unstoppable Chiwetel Ejiofor with Matthew McConnaughey chomping on his heels. His first acting nomination in forty years, though, seems assured.

My pony in the beloved aging star stakes this year is, as I have said, Judi Dench who I am still predicting over critics' darling Cate Blanchett.

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Re: 12 Years a Slave reviews

Postby Reza » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:22 am

Big Magilla wrote:Supporting Actor is strictly between Michael Fassbender and Jared Leto.


Leto? For which film? I have no clue this year who's got a serious shot apart from the Slaves actors, Oprah and Sandra Bullock.

Who are the contenders this year?


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