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#21 sexy rancheros

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:10 PM

I don't think it's an abridged version because it's supposed to be an advertisement for Missoni fashion house. Now, how it advertises for that I have no idea, but let's hope they have Anger do more.
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#22 Duke Togo

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:24 PM

Truly unreal, I've watched it six times in a row now. The imagination really runs wild with some of the obscured imagery. My favorite shot is 00:46, so iconic and true to his roots.

#23 sexy rancheros

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:35 PM

I love 0:51 to 1:01. I wonder if all the footage is original because some of it comes across as if it was from an undiscovered past. This is exactly what I'd imagine the Anger of the 60s and 70s would have done if he had the resources of today. It's terrific.
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#24 Duke Togo

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:44 PM

Well, a lot of the imagery from his 40s-50s work seemed so post-modern at the time. I just think he has true command of his art and isn't at all limited by the times.

#25 sexy rancheros

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:47 PM

Yeah, but I think seeing a recent short from him titled Anger Sees Red made me think he just totally lost it and this short made me feel a helluva lot better concerning his artistic talent. Here is that short if you haven't seen it.

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#26 Duke Togo

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:59 PM

You're right, there was nothing really impressive about that short, certainly nothing to make me anxiously anticipate his next project. I had not seen that. The Missoni short seems to be channeling his older works, specifically Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, but still you can see that Anger can still handle this sort of direction with ease. Anger Sees Red goes in a completely different direction, and there isn't even any accompanying music which was such a pioneered element of his. I didn't mean to sound so hubris-fused in my last post, but I do think he has an undeniably timeless style when he isn't going out on a limb.

#27 clydefro

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 05:53 PM

Where are your updates rancheros? Did you like Vincere?

#28 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 06:02 PM

For those who don't want to wait for Sexy: here is his blog entry on the subject from September 20, 2010.

I'm surprised he has not seen The Tooth Fairy.

So far worst of the year for me: Furry Vengeance (2010: Roger Kumble).
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#29 sexy rancheros

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 06:37 PM

I'll try to give more in-depth thoughts about the placing and my feelings about the films on that list later. I feel pretty comfortable about the ranking of the top 14, but below that, it could be pretty much preferential musical chairs.

For The Tooth Fairy, I think the reason why I haven't seen it yet is because it's one of those films that I think would be a better experience when you have someone else watching it with you. I've seen Dwayne Johnson's two previous Disney efforts with my friend, who also happens to worship at the altar of "The Rock," so I might need to see this one with him as well.

Why did you see Furry Vengeance?

clyde, as for Vincere, I dig it. It didn't blow me away or anything, but it's definitely worth checking out. I'll give more fleshed out thoughts on the subject later today.
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#30 clydefro

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 06:47 PM

I did see Vincere, just did a review of it actually, and thought it was extremely well done. In fact, I can't figure out why Criterion would pass on it (if they did, as part of the IFC deal). It has some of the best cinematography I've seen lately and Bellocchio elevates it far above typical biopic or melodrama expectations. I don't even usually like movies of that sort and still found it be a stunning work. Not technically a 2010 film but it was released in the U.S. for the first time this year so it qualifies, and probably in my top 10 at this point.

#31 sexy rancheros

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:26 PM

Vincere: I just read your review. I'm glad that you mentioned your feelings about the use of newsreel footage of Mussolini because I was gonna ask you how you felt about that. It was distracting, but I think your interpretation of Timi's Mussolini simply being an idealized conception in Ida's head is a good one. Timi playing her and Mussolini's son was kind of funky, though. I was resistant to the film at first just based on my previous experience with Bellocchio(Good Morning, Night) and thinking it'd just end up being a rather tasteful and timid version of "important" history akin to something like the film I mentioned or The Baader-Meinhof Complex. I think what initially won me over was the film's stance towards fascism. I don't think I've ever seen a film that made fascism look this awesome, especially in the first half, and I don't think the film ever begrudges Mussolini in regards to his political beliefs. The film is against Mussolini, but I feel it is more in response to him being an asshole towards his wife and child. The film is operatic but it remains compelling just because of how stubborn Ida is, even to the point that she comes across as a rather alienating figure since the thought crossed my mind multiple times that she should probably stay quiet in order to be able to start living her life unfettered again. She is a force of nature and when the second half rolls around and makes her something of a helpless victim, the film loses steam for me. I was pretty keen on the editing of the finale, which I thought was rather majestic. It's probably the sole reason why I still think of the film fondly.

9.(11.) Exit Through the Gift Shop
I think my problem with this film is my problem with most documentaries that employ narration and talking heads: it's just not that interesting from a cinematic perspective. I'm still pro this film just because there are moments that are wonderfully cinematic like the opening with footage of street artists doing their art set to music and footage of Theirry's life being edited into small bits after describing how why he feels the need to document everything in his life. Much like the film above, I think the film's first half is much more interesting than its second. Watching street artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and others do what they do provides a sort of jolt that one gets while watching a heist get executed flawlessly. It's compelling to watch people extremely competent in a craft that involves quite a bit of risk do what they do. Watching Banksy pull off that Disneyland stunt, for instance, is incredible for that very reason. Then later on, the film shifts to Thierry's street art and basically turns the film into a rather unexceptional discussion piece about the age old question: what makes good or bad art? And my response to that question, especially in the context of the film, is I don't care. I think the second half makes you more appreciative of the artists highlighted in the first just because Thierry's designs are so mindnumbingly dull. It's obvious that Banksy is not fond of Thierry so it makes you wonder why he decided to spend so much time on his art. I guess the angle of hype and self-promotion is there in regards to Thierry, but that also loses its luster rather quickly, when you realize that the film basically wants you to think the people fawning all over Thierry's art are gullible idiots. More of the ode to street art seen in the beginning, especially exemplified by the wonderful opening to the film, and less dismantling of Thierry's obviously not-very-good, stillborn art would have been ideal.

12.(14.) Soul Kitchen
Fatih Akin's last film was one of those dreaded hyperlink self-important melodramas that I love so much. The only similarity between that film and this one is that both films juggle a handful of characters, but this one is much more focused in its approach and thankfully, much less satisfied with its own brilliance. In fact, if anything, it's actually satisfied with its lack of brilliance. It's a lark and it's definitely more enjoyable to see Akin pile the bad luck on his characters for laughs instead of tears. It's nice to see Akin goof off with wacky use of camera techniques and a plot structure that basically drops his character to desolute just in order to go for the impossible happy ending. It's much more preferable than watching Akin trying to make some grand statement about life in Germany and Turkey. Right now, I'm actually thinking I might have placed this too low on my list.
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#32 Fulleyes

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 02:45 PM

The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010) -- B+

Given David Fincher's past propensity for sheer technical exercise (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button being his most egregious offense), The Social Network comes as a bit of a mild surprise; it's understated, only sprinkled with CGI touches (the deftest feat coming via a dual role played by the infuriatingly charming Armie Hammer), and rarely engages self-indulgence (it's a breathlessly paced 120 minutes). The credit for that pace belongs as much to Aaron Sorkin's literate, but thematically moderate script, integrating deposition hearings as a Rashomon-lite narrative structure, supplementing a Citizen Kane-ultra-lite tale of petty revenge cum capitalist nightmare. These meaningless comparisons are meant to mock the hype machine created by mainstream critics as a validation of their cultural stature - Peter Travers' proclamation (having been specially selected to see the film back in August) that it is "the movie of the year that also brilliantly defines the decade,” hyperbolic as that may seem, proved only a catalyst for other critics to continue the reductive accolade dogpile. Everybody's stuck in Oscar bait speech, making analytically diminishing statements ("if Coppola had been into computers, he would have made The Social Network") in place of actual evaluation and consideration. While Armond White's review of the film is self-interestedly dismissive and verging on self-parody, his opening insight, that it may be five years before anyone can view the film without unconsciously engaging the hyperbole, is spot on. This is all to say that the film, itself, is good, intelligent about the predicated dishonesty of cyberspace subterfuge, and partially insightful regarding the compounded loss of both civility and human decency created through the supplementation of narcissism.

The film's ultimate fault and prevention of greatness, however, is an inability to coherently make radical sense of both its enigmatic protagonist and locus of the hate and anger fueling him. Ambivalent to a fault (yet what filmmaker under 50 isn't, these days?) little in Fincher's direction works to solidify a moral/ethic stance on Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg) and his cronies. Likewise, Sorkin's stance on the material remains even more indecisive, opting for a "the truth can't be known" approach which, though it makes for harrowing sequences of finger-pointing and shouting, ultimately lacks any resonance beyond bitter irony. In the opening scene, Zuckerberg's told by his soon-to-ex Erica (Rooney Mara) that, in the future, he shouldn't falsely believe women don't like him because he's a nerd - it's actually because he's an asshole. Eisenberg's bitter face emotes wounded pride, something his 1600 on the SAT can't answer. In the greatest opening credits sequence of the year, Mark quickly walks across campus to his dorm. Fincher's in pure neo-noir mode here - fatalistic and daunting, using Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor's kinetic, techno score as a chilly foreshadowing of both Mark's bottled up resentment and loneliness. The genesis of Mark's ascendancy and plunge (though he seems to never enjoy much of any of it) lies upon petty revenge - the desire for retribution. Of course, Mark's only means lies in mediation, a way to strike back without the potential of face-to-face humiliation. One of Fincher's strongest directorial sequences (visually and viscerally, at least) comes during Mark's initial expulsion of vitriol, a montage of sex, drinking, typing, hacking - the conglomeration being sensory overload. It's bravura, but problematic, as Fincher and Sorkin amp the sex appeal without much regard for its diminution of decorum. That lack plagues much of the film's bite, since the duo seem only interested in pop-psychoanalysis (Mark's motivation is not actually money or power, but the one that got away). The film's final scene, of Mark sitting at his computer, hitting refresh in hopes that Erica will "friend" him, reinforces the film's knee-high depth - it's but a rather simple irony.

Likewise, much of the film relies on expository sequences that function mainly to further the narrative, rather than complexly construct character motivation or thematic depth. Namely, the material with the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) does little to register in regard to questions of power hunger or cognizant betrayal. Moreover, an incredible rowing sequence using a modified version of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is just that - a great piece of visceral filmmaking, but tangential to any furthering of a discourse. The moral resonance in the film lies with Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), the company's CFO and, naturally, best friend of Zuckerberg. He's the Jedediah Leland figure, if you will, betrayed and left for financial dead because of both his "outdated" principles and naivete. Garfield is vulnerable and empathetic throughout (sans a curious segment in the film where his demonized Asian girlfriend comes back for revenge), but Fincher doesn't probe his devastation deeply enough - especially once Napster wunderkind Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) becomes part of the equation. He exits the film in a fit of rage, slamming Mark's laptop to oblivion once he learns of his horribly diluted stake in the company. It's one of The Social Network's few cathartic moments - a show of anguish and humiliation at having believed in someone so unfeeling and emotionally unresponsive.

Nevertheless, The Social Network is slyly perceptive about the issue of sex, at least with regard to Facebook's role. Like the emotional stoicism of Mark's hatemail, the sexual interaction takes its form in the "fuck," personified by Eduardo and Mark's bathroom stall session with two newly acquired "friends." It's a further explication of the tool's paradoxical human disconnect, facilitating interaction while precluding it, emphasizing the sensory over the emotional. Fincher's film functions in this way, though because of his non-committal stance, one's never positive whether he's more inclined to condemn or embrace. Not that he has to do either, but the film itself is much like its protagonist, brilliant but unruly, active but enigmatic. That congruence of character/form often works in Fincher and Sorkin's favor, but a more decisive approach, righting Mark's wrongs through responsive rather than objective filmmaking, could lend their discursive and visual prowess a touch of needed maturity - a move from fashionable eclecticism towards the kind of personal statement sorely needed in an era founded upon irresponsibility. 

B+

#33 Fulleyes

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 02:47 PM

My "best of" for 2010 unto this point (keeping in mind that there are a few releases that still need to be seen):

1. Piranha 3D (Alexandre Aja)
2. Vincere (Marco Bellocchio)
3. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
4. Life During Wartime (Todd Solondz)
5. The Social Network (David Fincher)
6. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Edgar Wright)
7. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy)
8. The Runaways (Floria Sigismondi)
9. The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)
10. Jonah Hex (Jimmy Hayward)

#34 sexy rancheros

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 02:55 AM

Why do you think Piranha 3D is the best movie you've seen from this year so far?
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#35 sexy rancheros

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 05:28 PM

clyde, what did you think of "Carlos"? (or Carlos?)
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#36 clydefro

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:01 AM

clyde, what did you think of "Carlos"? (or Carlos?)


It might be the movie, or at least the miniseries, of the year. There is substance to it, I believe, but Assayas forgoes a lot of the analytical in favor of the atmospheric. No film that I've ever watched has matched Carlos' ability to make the viewer see the appeal of terrorism. As ideological as it can be, there's also a very sexy quality to the whole thing - globetrotting, narrow escapes, women and guns - that is embraced here rather than dryly skimmed over. It's careful, too, to follow up on that with the more humiliating aspects, as we Carlos become fat and no longer really respected.

As good a testament as any to my enjoyment of the picture might be how I came to watch it. The night before I had an 8-hour flight to Munich, I passed by the IFC Center in Manhattan. I took along my Summer Hours Blu-ray because I knew that Assayas was going to be there and I hoped he'd sign it for me. To get into the theater you needed to buy a ticket so I used my membership and bought one. You got a nice program booklet as part of the deal. When I get inside the lobby Assayas is standing around, undisturbed, looking at either the concessions area or the little gift shop that sells t-shirts and DVDs. I approached him. He signed my BD, just his last name, and shyly thanked me (I've noticed that a lot of non-American directors are extremely gentle and reserved). Another audience member, a woman, asked me who that was and I told her it was the director. She replied, "oh, he's here." Before the film started, Assayas made some nice comments to the audience. I then sat for the first part, entirely enthralled but still thinking I'd probably leave after the intermission between parts 2 and 3 because I needed to get home. Part 2 started and I was just as into the picture despite being extremely tired. At the intermission, I went outside and got a slice of pizza around the corner. I couldn't miss part 3 (which is probably the weakest and least exciting) so I went back in and didn't get out until about 1:00 AM. Six hours, including intermission and introduction, but entirely worth the experience.
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#37 sexy rancheros

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 05:59 PM

Sorry, I tried to write a lengthier piece about the film and I did, but it's a little too ungainly and needs some work. I find it interesting that you find the film sexy and that it made terrorism appealing since I thought it was deliberately doing the opposite. Don't you think the miniseries underlines how idiotic these guys are every step of the way? The miniseries goes out of its way to show Carlos placing just as much importance to a complaint about the sandwiches containing ham as a list of demands during the OPEC hostage situation along with various other things.

I wrote a lengthier review of I Am Love at my blog. Here.

I'm going to try to write reviews for everything I've seen from 2010 and beyond on there.

Also, John Hawkes's performance in Winter's Bone is something to behold. Might be my favorite performance of the year so far.
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#38 Ted

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 09:02 PM

Anybody see the film "Mr. Nobody" ? I just heard about it and have a DVD on the way.
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#39 clydefro

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:53 PM

I find it interesting that you find the film sexy and that it made terrorism appealing since I thought it was deliberately doing the opposite. Don't you think the miniseries underlines how idiotic these guys are every step of the way?


I think the film/miniseries has a way of showing terrorism as being sexy, similar to Bonnie and Clyde. That's what I mean by it showing the appeal of terrorism beyond the ideological commitment. I hate to compare it to Baader-Meinhof, but think of how that movie was one struggle and panic after another. Nothing in it seemed fun or enticing. Carlos, to me, presents that lifestyle as one that is ripe for enjoyment. The character of Carlos loves what he's doing. That said, he's a maniac and Assayas does indeed portray him as none too bright at times. There's a separation, though, in belittling the terrorists and glamorizing their lifestyle. I actually appreciated that glamorization, as I perceived it, because, and this will sound stupid out of context, terrorism is never shown in film, television, the news, etc. as anything remotely interesting or, again, sexy in terms of the experience. To show the side of it with that appeal creates a new truth I'd never before seen or really considered.

#40 sexy rancheros

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 05:44 PM

I was actually going to compare it unfavorably to Baader-Meinhof in terms of "sexiness," but I knew you weren't a fan. Also, me finding Johanna Wokalek ridiculously hot in that movie might be clouding my judgment in regards to whether it really presented terrorism as sexy or not (I'd join a terrorist sect if she was in it). The incidents in Baader-Meinhof were a great deal more exciting, at least on paper. And another thing about that movie is that the terrorists actually seemed effective up until they became imprisoned and whatnot, until their fall, I guess. Carlos never comes across as particularly good at his job. I'd even say he seems quite awful except for maybe some improvised bits of violence and even then, he comes across as simply lucky. Killing three or four unsuspecting cops in an apartment is not exactly worthy of the terrorist equivalent of the medal of honor. I agree that Carlos likes what he does, he's just not good at it. I mean, you look at the OPEC situation and sure, it's impressive that he got himself and his crew out in relatively one piece, but he makes idiotic decision after idiotic decision starting with the accidental execution of a Yemen diplomat and then there's him prematurely releasing the hostages so he had absolutely nothing to negotiate with later on. The characters in B-M, at least, seemed to have some sort of method and ideology backing them up. Carlos seemed like a gun for hire from the start. There's also the court stuff in B-M that glamorized the shit out of them, I thought, with them raising a ruckus during their trial and the crowd outside cheering for them. It doesn't seem like anybody likes Carlos for what he really is. He's a symbol and mainly the appeal of him is based on fabrication and lies. It's hard for me to see the film as glamorizing terrorism at all. There's a certain international intrigue to secret meetings in posh hotels, but I think those meetings also underlined how bullshit the socialist agenda is. All the operations presented in the film are marred by stupidity at some point by the terrorists. For instance, the hostage situation involving the Japanese United Red Army has one of the captors shooting a picture of a politician to only be informed by one of the hostages that the man has been out of office for a while now. There's also the successive blundered operations involving the airline. The first one with the RPG hitting the wrong plane is practically slapstick. I don't know. It's hard for me to see the glamor in the lifestyle, when it seems like the film beats you over the head with how dumb and incompetent these guys are at their respective profession.
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