Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 104481 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #180 on: April 10, 2012, 05:08:43 AM »
Nights of Cabiria (1957) 5/5 - As I was watching this fantastic movie, I found myself pondering two questions. First, has there ever been an actress who could evoke such emotion with only her eyes as Giulietta Masina? I thought she was outstanding in the only other Fellini film I've seen, La Strada, but in that film she's either playing comic or pathos. In Nights of Cabiria she runs the gamut of anguished, angry, forlorn and on the opposite end of the spectrum, innocent and lovestruck. Now that I've finished this film, I have to rethink my nomination for Best Actress as it's going to be a tough choice between Masina and Tatyana Samojlova, as both actresses deal with a whole host of emotions in their character's lives. My second question deals with the stories main character Cabiria. Was this the first film to deal with the concept of the hooker with the heart of gold? After the film ended, I racked my brain, but couldn't think of another film that used this concept prior to this. Maybe someone else can think of one. Getting back to the film, Fellini plays all the right notes in his storytelling, as I felt pity and hope for Cabiria, even when I knew what was going to happen when she meets Oscar. That hope that I mentioned comes during a beautifully played out scene in a theater where Cabiria is hypnotized by a magician, and the innocence I alluded to, is on full display. This was going to be the next film added to my List of Shame, and I'm now very glad that we picked the Retro Filmspots for this month. I really enjoyed this, and now La Strada takes second place to this wonderful film.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #181 on: April 16, 2012, 06:08:06 AM »
What Price Hollywood? (1932) 3.5/5 - A Pre-Code precursor to both A Star is Born and Sunset Blvd. about a waitress who is discovered by a famous director and catapulted to stardom, all the while the director's career is fading.  What makes this pre-code work is Lowell Sherman's performance as the washed up director, and the realism in the story about what Hollywood fame does to him. Just two years later a film like this could have never been made and stayed true to its story. Clocking in at a quick 88 minutes, we get a view of Hollywood that would be white washed just a few years later at the hands of the Breen Office. This is my second film starring Constance Bennett and its a shame that her career was so reminiscent of a shooting star. She definitely had a good screen presence and had enough moxie to make her roles interesting.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #182 on: April 22, 2012, 03:54:52 PM »
Anonymous (2011) 3/5 – A few weeks back, my wife and I had rented The Ides of March from Redbox, and we were watching the previews, and this film was amongst the endless amount previews available. My wife said that she wanted to check it out, and as the trailer was playing, I too, thought it looked interesting. But when it reached the end, I was a little bit apprehensive because it stated that Roland Emmerich was the director. I have yet to watch an Emmerich film that was decent, and I also felt that he was out of his element doing a period piece about Shakespeare. Well…I was right, he was the wrong director for a film such as this. Anonymous deals with the notion that William Shakespeare was a fraud, a front for the earl of Oxford, who was the true writer of all of Shakespeare’s plays. I had never heard of this assumption, which I guess, is championed by a few scholars in the literary world, but sounds like a ripping story for a film. Unfortunately, Emmerich can’t decide whether or not he wants to play it for drama or laughs. In the beginning, the actor who plays Shakespeare is so annoyingly stupid and bombastic, that it instantly puts the viewer off. Then he turns out to be a murderer also, and it is at this point where the film can’t decide whether or not it wants to be Elizabeth: The Golden Age or Shakespeare in Love. The rest of the film plays out melodramatically to an ending twist that really is far fetched, and by this time I was ready for the film to end. I think in the hands of a better director, this would have been a much more engaging film, given the premise. Alas, poor Emmerich, you’ve made just another disaster.

Offline Jon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #183 on: April 22, 2012, 04:15:40 PM »
This is a perfect Emmerich film because the premise is a joke. I haven't seen it, by the way, and have no intention to. But what struck me from the trailer is the cheap sensationalism than runs through all his films. I really like ID4. It's big and silly. Yet it's built on the idea of "Oooh! Aliens! They've blown up the White House!"... And The Day After Tomorrow: "Oooh! New York is under water!"... or 2012: "Oooh! End of the frickin' world!"... it just gets lazy, dull and obvious.

Now he's doing the same with Shakespeare! "Oooh! He was a fraud!"  ::)

I was surprised you gave it 3, because despite you being intrigued by the premise, you still seemed to struggle with the execution. Sounds like a 2, surely.

I think you give him far too much credit, suggesting this is possibly an accepted theory in some circles, discussed by literary scholars. I'm sure it isn't. I've heard the theory before, especially based on the assumed rivalry with Marlowe, but it always drifts away as insubstantial. As with King Arthur, what's really, really sad for me though, is that typically of modern society, we can't just accept something at face-value, celebrate it and promote it to a wider audience. We can't just be optimistic and call Shakespeare a genius and try to explore his work to understand it. Rather than read the bloody books, it's easier to call foul, to disprove and discredit him for no other reason than to say we did it. I'm using "we" as a generalisation, obviously! Just look at Shakespeare In Love; it pokes fun at him, but still celebrates him.

That said, it isn't the theory that annoys me. It's the fact it's coming from Emmerich. Who the hell does he think he is? If he was an accepted Shakespeare expert, I'd watch the film. If Kenneth Branagh, someone who has spent most of their career working with Shakespeare plays, made this film to explore a crazy idea, I'd watch it, because I trust him to have an educated opinion. No, Emmerich is a hack who can't get away from knee-jerk tabloid film-making, blowing stuff up to sell popcorn. He is invalid.

What's he doing next? A film about Van Gogh, where it turns out he was a local handyman that couldn't even draw stick figures?
Jon
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Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #184 on: April 22, 2012, 07:31:59 PM »
The reason I watched it is because lately, I've been broadening my horizons with Shakespeare's plays. I've found about 8 of his plays, done by the BBC in their Complete Works of William Shakespeare, over at YouTube. And you're right, the three rating is definitely generous, but for a good part of the film, the parts with the Earl of Oxford getting the plays on stage, is pretty good. It's when it goes back to Shakespeare, and how he starts to blackmail the Earl into keeping their secret under wraps, that the film flounders. That, and the ridiculous twist I mentioned in my review.

I think you give him far too much credit, suggesting this is possibly an accepted theory in some circles, discussed by literary scholars. I'm sure it isn't.

Seems it's been around for a while...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxfordian_theory_of_Shakespeare_authorship

http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/

Even Orson Welles has commented on it, according to that second link.


Offline Jon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #185 on: April 22, 2012, 08:25:37 PM »
If Welles' made the film, then I'd have definitely given it more time! He earned the right to explore it because of the amount of work he did supporting the work in itself. Emmerich has done nothing to earn respect for such an opinion.
Jon
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Offline Silence_of_Lambs

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #186 on: April 22, 2012, 10:27:14 PM »
Emmerich has done nothing to earn respect for such an opinion.
It's not an opinion, it's entertainment.

Emmerich merely picked up a thesis for it's entertainment value, whether he shares or opposes this is not part of the movie.
In fact your point is almost arrogant. Do you know Emmerich personally? Or do you have any other insight on how much time Emmerich has actually spent on Shakespeare-Oxford researches?
Come to that: How many hours will Ridley Scott have to spend in outer-space before he's finally allowed to do Alien, or will a graduation in astrophysics suffice?

And really what's the difference if the plays were written by Shakespeare or by Oxford?
None of them lives today to be personally offended and it definitely doesn't lessen the impact the works have even nowadays.
Michael

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Offline Jon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #187 on: April 23, 2012, 01:07:42 AM »
"It's entertainment". Yeah, that's the answer for a multitude of sins these days. You don't have to make sense or even be particularly clever, just make 'em laugh and everyone will believe you!

How much research do you think James Cameron did for Titanic? Quite a bit, I'd say. So much so, I'd have no problem assuming that he's probably earned expert status on the subject and his work has extended into other fields. I'm indifferent about the film, but what a legacy.

Yet that didn't stop him depicting one of the officers as a coward who shot people who were trying to get to the lifeboats. The man died 100 years ago and now millions of people remember him as the coward. He wasn't, and the studio was forced to apologise to his family.

But it's ok! Who gives a shit? It's entertainment!  ::) At least Cameron has earned enough kudos to balance out such poor, short-sighted judgement, as well as proving himself committed to Titanic's legacy.

It is simply about responsibility on the part of the artist. Emmerich may well be a foremost expert on Shakespeare and knows every play backwards. I don't care. He hasn't demonstrated that knowledge if it exists; he hasn't even demonstrated a competent skill as a storyteller. He makes films that are brainless fun at best and usually they aren't even that good. I believe that the man who makes up his own laws of physics to tell crap stories about the end of the world, is not sufficiently qualified to question the legacy of Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's work is the bedrock of modern literature in England. I simply believe that any question mark over that legacy should be put into context and explored sensibly by genuine experts, which is what they are doing and have been doing for decades. Evidence such be presented calmly, not to sell popcorn, because if it were correct the repercussions -though right to be suffered- would be massive. Emmerich jumping in now, in the name of entertainment, belittles those who have proven track records with this subject, and any success he has can only undermine an entire industry that is centred on the author. All he's doing is bean-counting though.

Maybe you don't attach any particular importance to the work. I myself really only appreciate it, rather than enjoy it. I just pay it respect and question the legitimacy of Emmerich's venture just as a I would any film based on history or someone elses work. Ask the people of Stratford-upon-Avon if they think that's arrogant. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-15440882

Tell you what, use your Ridley Scott Alien analogy to convince them as well. Really, Michael, you're better than that.



« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 01:09:36 AM by Jon »
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Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #188 on: April 23, 2012, 03:15:13 AM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-15440882

That's an interesting article, but you have to admit that they have a vested interest in debunking anyone or any premise which suggests what the Oxford debate puts forth.

You mention Kenneth Branagh in your response, and how you would only watch it because Branagh is an authority on Shakespeare's work. Well then, do you feel the same way about Derek Jacobi? Because one of the reasons that I agreed to watch the film, is because Jacobi appears in the film as a fictional Shakespearean actor who presents the premise for an audience at a theater. Jacobi has portrayed many of Shakespeare's most famous characters, and for me, his participation in a film such as this, has to lend at least a smidgen of authenticity to the debate.


Offline Silence_of_Lambs

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #189 on: April 23, 2012, 11:58:41 AM »
Jon,
I have a big disadvantage: I take fiction as what it is.
Just because some historically "real" names were involved, doesn't mean that I'm watching a documentary.
It would never come to my mind to accuse works of fiction of being historically incorrect. For one reason or the other they all are, and have to be.
Believe it or not, this film will not shift reality, and it will definitely not change historical facts. It will not even change what we know about historical facts (which is a difference).
It is a work of fiction, even worse it's a work by Roland "Catastrophe" Emmerich, and anyone actually discussing whether it mirrors historical events correctly is in a severe need of readjusting his perception of reality.

Regarding the Shakespeare/Oxford thesis: Shakespeare may, or may not have written the works assigned to his name. So what? Will this change anything about the importance of the works as such? Definitely not.
Even if it would have been Oxford wouldn't mean that we'd have to rewrite history. In this case it obviously was the wish of the author that his works should be published under the name of Shakespeare. The historically hopefully significantly less important Stephen King did exactly the same when publishing parts of his works as "Richard Bachman".


Regarding the people of Stratford-Upon-Avon: I'm sure they will never admit it, but many people will be happy about this film (even though they may not like the film), simply because it will bring in more tourists and therefore more money. Nobody likes tourists, but everybody loves the money they spend.
Michael

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Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #190 on: April 23, 2012, 02:19:52 PM »
Regarding the people of Stratford-Upon-Avon: I'm sure they will never admit it, but many people will be happy about this film (even though they may not like the film), simply because it will bring in more tourists and therefore more money. Nobody likes tourists, but everybody loves the money they spend.

That's an interesting article, but you have to admit that they have a vested interest in debunking anyone or any premise which suggests what the Oxford debate puts forth.

And that's my point exactly.

Offline Jon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #191 on: April 23, 2012, 09:28:34 PM »
You mention Kenneth Branagh in your response, and how you would only watch it because Branagh is an authority on Shakespeare's work. Well then, do you feel the same way about Derek Jacobi? Because one of the reasons that I agreed to watch the film, is because Jacobi appears in the film as a fictional Shakespearean actor who presents the premise for an audience at a theater. Jacobi has portrayed many of Shakespeare's most famous characters, and for me, his participation in a film such as this, has to lend at least a smidgen of authenticity to the debate.

To some degree, yes, but it's director/producer for me. The theory exists and you already pointed out Orson Welles. What matters is why now, why at all?

Jon,
I have a big disadvantage: I take fiction as what it is.
Just because some historically "real" names were involved, doesn't mean that I'm watching a documentary.
It would never come to my mind to accuse works of fiction of being historically incorrect. For one reason or the other they all are, and have to be.
Believe it or not, this film will not shift reality, and it will definitely not change historical facts. It will not even change what we know about historical facts (which is a difference).
It is a work of fiction, even worse it's a work by Roland "Catastrophe" Emmerich, and anyone actually discussing whether it mirrors historical events correctly is in a severe need of readjusting his perception of reality.

I find that a shame, but ok. But I've also discussed the subject at length before. Suffice to say, I would encourage aggressive adaptations of history or books, because it's a film and different methods should be welcomed. But I also strongly believe that the original source should be respected. Many people rely on fiction to understand fact, so why not do it right first time? U571 again! Just an entertaining movie about a submarine, or a offensive insult? I go with the latter.

Regarding the Shakespeare/Oxford thesis: Shakespeare may, or may not have written the works assigned to his name. So what? Will this change anything about the importance of the works as such? Definitely not.
Even if it would have been Oxford wouldn't mean that we'd have to rewrite history. In this case it obviously was the wish of the author that his works should be published under the name of Shakespeare. The historically hopefully significantly less important Stephen King did exactly the same when publishing parts of his works as "Richard Bachman".

"Definitely not." Now who is being arrogant? No, the content wouldn't change, but it would still matter a great deal. Which brings me to...

Regarding the people of Stratford-Upon-Avon: I'm sure they will never admit it, but many people will be happy about this film (even though they may not like the film), simply because it will bring in more tourists and therefore more money. Nobody likes tourists, but everybody loves the money they spend.

Ah, interesting. I'm starting to get the impression you consider him as just another writer. To be mentioned in the same breath as any number of others? Even before, you qualified your statement about King v Bachman as Shakespeare "hopefully" being significantly more important. There's no argument, Michael! It's barely worth mentioning. Do you have any real idea of the size of... I don't know what to call it... the Shakespearean industry? I think it's big enough that it wouldn't even notice if the film had been released or not as it's estimated to be globally worth about £400 million. Can't remember where I heard that, but it dwarfs all other writers and rivals commercially powered brands.

His writing is ingrained in English language so much so it has changed the way speech has developed. We use sayings and phrases daily that are Shakespearian, without realising. Because it's the anniversary of his birth and death this month, I've heard a lot of stuff about him on radio, etc. A good description the other day was that no other writer has understood the human condition so completely or had such a huge influence. There are theatre companies that do nothing but his work and they are never short of audiences. I doubt a day goes by without a significant production running somewhere in England.

I think it's safe to say, Stratford-upon-Avon doesn't need the film. In fact, it's more the other way around. No accident the DVD being released in April, that's for sure! Yes, as a tourist industry, they'd be very concerned if it were proven true, so Antares is right that it's in their interest to debunk it, but really, I doubt they noticed the film impact on their numbers. Again, as I said, maybe if it had been produced by a recognised scholar, or at least in England, then it would have been taken more seriously as a valid piece of work.

And if it were true, I think it would have an interesting effect on English culture. My gut feeling is it isn't true, if only for the fact that the theory has never gained a lot of ground and ours is probably the most pessimistic and conspiracy obsessed generation. If it was ever going to get a film made about it, then round about now is when I'd expect it!

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 09:32:12 PM by Jon »
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Offline Silence_of_Lambs

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #192 on: April 23, 2012, 11:37:20 PM »
OK,
I'm beginning to understand what you're up to.
Shakespeare is a National Monument which can only be compared to the Royal Family, and when having to choose Britain would probably opt for Shakespeare (at least he's completely unsuspicious of having German blood in his veins  :laugh:).
And, "No", I never considered Shakespeare to be "just another writer", even though at his time he probably was. The historical importance came with elapsed time.

My point regarding the movie was that it is a piece of crap and historically as important as the filling of a new bag of rice in China. It is definitely not worth discussing it's content for historical correctness, because there is none and that is exactly the amount that was to be expected. And whatever the picture is that Emmerich is drawing here, the chance that it will leave even the smallest stain on the Shakespearean Monument is less than 0.

Just for the sake of the argument: Emmerich didn't invent this theory. AFAIK (but I might err here), the first rumours showed up shortly after the first piece of Shakespeare was presented on a public stage. The fact that it lived for such a long time only shows one thing: People love to believe in conspiracies. Why should they accept the obvious, when there might be an underlying (and by far more interesting) secret.
The movie is just another one in a long row of more or less good conspiracy theory flicks, and it's nowhere near the best of this genre.

Quote
Many people rely on fiction to understand fact,
Possibly,
but I'm quite sure that those people don't give f*** about who actually wrote the Shakespearean works. They are just still annoyed that they had to read Macbeth in their English class while it would have been so much more fun to watch "Hillbilly Massacre III 1/4".

Regarding your point that the Shakespeare Industry wouldn't care about the extra money: They may not need it, but I'm very sure that they welcome it. If it only increases the income by 0.1%, it's a total I'd like to have as lifetime income.

I really wonder if your indignation would be the same if the names of the participants would have been "Johann Wolfgang von Goethe" and "Friedrich Wilhelm II"?

To conclude:
Shakespeare is not sacrosanct. Taking into consideration his comedic talent and the distinct feeling for conspiracies shown in his works it's quite likely that he would have laughed himself to death if he'd had the chance to see this "movie". First of all for the complete lack of talent shown in the script.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 12:39:27 AM by Silence_of_Lambs »
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Offline Achim

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #193 on: April 24, 2012, 06:22:42 AM »
There seems to be quite a few films about Goethe. I couldn't say if any of them or any good, let alone accurate. :shrug:

I don't mind what-if scenarios, but I agree it is a good idea to let the audience know that that's what they are looking at.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #194 on: April 25, 2012, 01:02:42 AM »
They Might Be Giants (1971) 3.5/5 - Boy, I really wanted to rate this one higher, but all in all, it wasn't what I was expecting, and a bit less than it has been acclaimed. The opening half hour was fantastic with the story trying to stay on a course of competent drama, but then, just as you would turning a light switch, it went off in a completely different direction. At first you think that maybe Scott's character Justin Playfair, isn't crazy at all and his power of deduction is truly amazing, but then when Dr. Watson starts to accompany him in his search for clues as to what the $20,000 note means, it destroys your notion by instilling Playfair with eccentric quirks that make him appear completely off his rocker. I wish it would have stayed more along the theme it started with, because that's when the film is interesting. By the time the blackmailers are shown, the story has devolved into early seventies madcap farce, and it looks extremely dated now. It does for a few moments at the end of the film, steer its way back to the original concept, but by then, it's a case of too little, too late. It's still an entertaining film, but probably could have used some re-writing. Kudos to Scott as he gives another of his stellar performances and I also have to give a shout out to Rue McClanahan, who does a wonderful job as Playfair's sister-in-law.