Author Topic: Jon's Random Reviews  (Read 62545 times)

Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #135 on: May 19, 2010, 12:03:39 AM »
I'm glad you said that, because I was afraid I was ranting on one hand and may be being not-British might have helped! :-[

It's the curse of the drama. You have to be able to identify with someone in it. As soon as something is tweaked to make it more likable, snap, it's a comedy, fantasy or parody; contrive a set-piece, boom, it's a thriller. This stark realism needs an anchor. I much prefer Todd Field's work on In The Bedroom or Little Children, but even those eventually give over a little to genre convention. I like the contrast though, like you earn a little relief. Here I could guess how it was going to end; all reflective, while still being miserable. :shrug:

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #136 on: May 20, 2010, 01:14:33 PM »
Glad I read this... was considering this one this weekend for my On-Demand marathon. But it sounds pretty painful to watch.
Pete

Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #137 on: May 20, 2010, 08:43:08 PM »
Well, I wouldn't immediately think of it as a film you would like, but maybe if you 'recognised' the characters, you might enjoy it.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #138 on: June 15, 2010, 10:47:43 AM »
After reading all these, at the most, lukewarm responses to Rachel Getting Married I was beginning to doubt my own praise. It's been a year since I last saw it. Was I too enthusiastic in my initial response?

Having rewatched it now, the answer is a resounding "No! Hell, no!" and I feel a bit sad for Jon, Antares and Tom that they couldn't see the movie I have seen.

I love the characters. I may not like them, but I love them. They are authentic and raw. Except for Debra Winger as Abby, who is controlled and almost icy, but authentic nonetheless.

I don't see the lazy sarcasm, not even in Kym. She is a bit snarky at times, mostly in the beginning, but that makes perfect sense. She doesn't really know how to communicate with her family, so she overdoes the fast-talk with her father and stepmother on the drive from the clinic and on the first encounter with her sister.

I don't see the incessant whining either. There is a real tragedy and the resulting neurotic behaviors again seem very believable to me. Such stories can also be soap operas or melodramas, this movie isn't.

I immensely enjoyed all the wedding scenes. These days are meant to be a celebration, and Kym's rehab and the entire family tragedy aren't supposed to take center stage. From Kym's awkward speech at the rehearsal dinner to her lonely dancing at the actual wedding party, they drift slowly to the background during the three wedding set pieces. But especially the third one has some blink-and-you-will-miss-it moments that make you gasp (the wedding cake, for example).

Jon said the film is too realistic to be any fun. I disagree. There is joy and sadness in this movie, and at least to me, the first doesn't mean much without the latter.

Matthias

Offline Antares

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #139 on: June 15, 2010, 05:07:35 PM »
Glad I read this... was considering this one this weekend for my On-Demand marathon. But it sounds pretty painful to watch.

It's not a painful film to watch, but rather laborious, without any real payoff at the end. It's a slice of a dysfunctional family's life, that lays it all out for the viewer. What made it ring hollow for me was the fact that no one in this family has any depth. They are all selfish and self-serving. Sure it's a raw, real life treatment, but who gives a shit? If I knew these people, I wouldn't give them the time of day. I've known people like this in my life, trying desperately to appear unique and better than others around them.

Jon's right, this is not a film that I think you will like.

Offline goodguy

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #140 on: June 15, 2010, 05:20:03 PM »
...but who gives a shit?

I believe I made clear that I do?

Jon's right, this is not a film that I think you will like.

I agree, Pete would probably not like it - if only because there also is a lot of music.
Matthias

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #141 on: June 15, 2010, 05:23:16 PM »
Well that sealed it for me... Definitely not one I would like!

And people trying to get me to watch The Rocky Horror Picture show?... yeah right!  :laugh:
Pete

Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #142 on: June 15, 2010, 09:52:26 PM »
It's as I said before, Matthias, I find the film fascinating because I largely agree with you. Even in this follow up post you've made, I agree. But I also share Antares' dismissal that I just can't find any common ground with the people in it.

I have no issue with the presentation or the plot, such as it is in this sort of film. Switch the characters from these over-privileged pretentious bores and I'd be right there with them.

Matthias, they had a race to fill the dishwasher! :shrug: And in all seriousness, picking one key moment...

The scene where Rachel is doing the seating arrangements and wishes to block Kym away to the side. And then politely asks her disagreeing father to join her so she can talk to whine about Kym. I detest that sort of 'smiling while being angry' attitude. It's dishonest and spiteful. She was a spoilt cow who needed taking down a peg or two.

I suppose I'm struggling as well because I was privileged to be at my cousins wedding a few years ago. Emotions were raw because of a fairly recent tragedy. I don't want to go into details, because there is no need, but it was a fascinating and wonderful day that ran the gamut of sadness and joy. So I couldn't help but find Rachel cheap and thin as a character, who wouldn't know tragedy if it hit her full in the face!

But I repeat, the best thing I can say about RGM is that it was brilliantly put together and I hope it becomes an influence for more like it. Hopefully about people I like this time! :laugh:

samuelrichardscott

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #143 on: June 20, 2010, 07:59:49 PM »
You're not alone goodguy. I'm with you all the way on this one. :thumbup:

Najemikon

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ***
« Reply #144 on: June 24, 2010, 12:04:56 AM »
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3 out of 5




“I was born under unusual circumstances.” And so begins The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backward. From his birth in New Orleans in 1918, across the high seas, through the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and back home again - Benjamin's journey is as extraordinary yet as common as any man's life can be. Directed by David Fincher (Zodiac, Fight Club) and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett as the time-crossed soul mates Benjamin and Daisy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a time-traveler's epic adventure into the joys of life, the sadness of death and a love that endures beyond time.

David Fincher directing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Forrest Gump with the visual punch of Fight Club? Sounds like a treat!

Unfortunately, not only is Button a bloated, unbalanced disappointment, it underlines the childish naivety in Fincher’s direction. All his work lacks subtlety and while Button is a handsome film, it’s a classic case of style over substance and although his overall approach is superb, Fincher often directs as if in awe of the story, so it’s often boring, and so full of itself, borderline smug. The premise of a man born very old and getting younger looks like great fun on paper, but in practice, as he is the main character, the story is awkward and lacks relevance. The similarities to Forrest Gump are numerous and so crushingly obvious that it’s insulting.

Let’s focus on the [very] good stuff. It really does look gorgeous and the effects to reverse the main character through extremes of age are masterful and utterly convincing. Easy to dismiss is Cate Blanchett, who ages in the correct direction and is superb, especially as she gets older. New Orleans and the main house in particular are beautifully realised. In fact, it improves on Ficnher’s Zodiac in that respect for making the location part of the fabric of the story. And it is so much like Forrest Gump, the ultimate Marmite film, that maybe, if you like Gump, you will find much to enjoy in this. Well, I do like that film and I badly wanted to like this more. I should have, because in one key sense it is very different. It is about the relentless cruel nature of ageing and time. I did particularly like the story of the blind clockmaker and his backwards clock, the gentle suggestion it is linked somehow to the fantastic nature of Benjamin's birth and the heartbreaking poignancy it represents of the loss of life in the Great War.

Half an hour into the film, I was loving it. I had no idea how thin it would be stretched over the next two plus hours!

People who don’t like Forrest Gump will focus on the preachy aspect of the story, but at least Zemeckis and Hanks both brought considerable charm and a sense of identity. Button shares the flashback framework and preachy nature, but replaces the charm with pretention and neither Fincher nor the cast have enough will-power to subvert it. Pitt does very well as Benjamin, but like all the cast apart from Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton, seemingly doesn’t dare bring any vitality to the role and it badly needed it. Like Forrest, Benjamin is oblivious to responsibility yet is imbued with some sort of divine influence on people, but at least Mr. Gump could excuse his ignorance with his innocent stupidity.

With Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (bloody hell, even the title is up its own arse!) also shares an insufferable woman we are supposed to believe is the central characters lifelong love. Problem is, like Jenny, Daisy (a wasted Cate Blanchett, who is frankly awesome in the role) is a complete cow. One scene perfectly sums up the problems with her and the film as a whole. Daisy gets walloped by a car in Paris, ignores Benjamin who rushes across many miles to her side, and is temporarily crippled long enough to do for her dancing career. When she returns to New Orleans, she graciously finally gives in to the inevitable romance... now she can’t bloody dance and provide for herself. The love affair with Tilda Swinton was far more rewarding and poignant.

Anyway, I digress; in the run up to the accident, we get a pretentious and laborious sequence showing how all sorts of little things contrived to make one big thing, via some guff about a person missing a taxi for the sake of answering a phone call and a dog farts near a butterfly that makes it fly left instead of right, and then... ARGH! Ok, the dog isn’t there (shame), but regardless, it’s just painful; and worse, disables the viewers’ requirement to think while the pompous tripe is rammed down our throats. To be fair, I know a lot of people loved that sequence. Very European, I suppose, but I do prefer a more straightforward plot.

Biographical films are often hamstrung by unwieldy plots that defy a neat narrative, but writer Eric Roth has adapted this from a short story! He’s done it like this on purpose! When you start digging into both his screenplays of Forrest Gump and this, you realise Roth must have some insecurities to continue to make us wallow like this. Essentially we’re watching him masturbate. Urgh. Clearly that’s why The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a load of old wank! Sorry, cheap shot.  :bag:

To be absolutely fair, at its best it is beautiful, honest and heartfelt, but lacks consistency and the arcs of some characters are just so lazy and frustrating. Maybe Fincher was onto something though so if he makes a Director's Cut that actually does "cut", it could be fantastic.


Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #145 on: June 24, 2010, 12:31:11 AM »
I hadn't seen this. It's just brilliant! :hysterical:


Offline Antares

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #146 on: June 24, 2010, 12:48:19 AM »
Interesting

Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #147 on: June 24, 2010, 01:26:14 AM »
 In what respect? :hmmmm:

Offline Antares

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #148 on: June 24, 2010, 01:31:37 AM »
Well, he's kind of an arrogant, look at me, windbag, but some of his points are spot on.

Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #149 on: June 24, 2010, 01:45:01 AM »
Outside of his reviews he is a lot less arrogant than you might think and is very gracious to those who write in to the radio show, which I try to catch on pod cast. His rants are superb; the last one was Sex And The City2. Simon Mayo is the actual host dj and his long suffering laid back manner works nicely with Kermode.