For me, the joke really ran out of steam long before the end, so I felt it was just sort of one-note after a while and I got a little tired of the whole thing. But the first half is loads of fun and I'm sure I'd enjoy it on a second viewing, too. It felt a little more conducive to a short format to me, maybe even 30 minutes or so.
I think the whole introduction to the characters and the nonsense with the birthday and the mistake with the bricks is pretty damn hilarious on its own.
Arbitrage is pretty OK, I guess. Well-crafted, and unlike most corporate thrillers I got a pretty good handle on what was going on on the business side of the plot. Gere does a good job with his character, though Tim Roth is probably the most fun to watch. No one's bad, though really nothing is bad with the movie. Its ending is even pretty bold yet perfect for what has come before.
All that said, I'm pretty sure I will have forgotten most of it by the end of the week.
"I shall immediately after I'm done watching Homeland." - DirkDiggler on his voting priorities
Also, I finally got around to seeing all the movies I wanted to see that are out on Redbox. Had a four movie marathon over the last week, and saw The Amazing Spider-Man, Detention, Take This Waltz, and Your Sister's Sister. All of them were pretty darn good, although Take This Waltz is probably going to end up on my Top Ten at the end of the year, and Detention might come very close to it. Has anyone else here seen Detention, because I'd love to talk about it with someone?
A Town Called Panic rules, one of my favorite comedies of the past few years. I showed it to my nephew a couple years ago when he was 4, and even though he couldn't read so I had to narrate to him what was going on, he loved it (and even watched it on his own when it was on TV).
I'm with CocoActual Items
In the Year 2000
As more and more people start having sex with robots, it will become increasingly embarrassing to buy a can of WD-40.
I didn't expect In Bruges to be that good.
Jesus, it makes you weep for most of Colin Farrel's other career choices. He's magnificent.
Ugh. A Man for All Seasons (Zinnemann, 1966) is one of the dullest Best Picture winners ever, no?
It’s not that the subject was not interesting, but it’s a subject that is and was been done to death by 1966 (not Thomas more in particular, but martyrdom because of being true to one’s self), and if you’re not going to be more insightful, intense, complex or spiritual than the previous efforts (Passion of Joan of Arc above them all), why bother? We all know the outcome, we all know how admirable More was, we all know the basics of this, and that’s the problem, that the film never goes beyond the basics of it. There’s an angle that’s particular of the More story that’s hinted at in a couple of scenes but never really explored, and it was easily the most interesting part: More is one of the few cases of this kind of martyrs that had a family, a wife and a daughter, and that adds a whole new dimension to the whole thing, because your martyrdom doesn’t just affect yourself, but your family too, and you may be condemning them too, but save for one very moving scene (the family’s visit to More in jail) it doesn’t really go anywhere. Things move along perfunctorily, predictably well performed by a great cast (one exception to be commented later) and with good dialogue, but that’s never enough to elevate it to something even interesting. It’s just passable.
But the worst thing is not its Best Picture win, but its Best Director win. It’s not only that the direction is almost uniformly flat (even though there are a couple of nice flourishes here and there), it’s that, at times, it’s downright clumsy. First it must be asked why on earth Robert Shaw was allowed by Zinnemann to give such a terrible performance. Yes, we all have this idea of Henry VIII as this loud, almost vulgar man, but that was ridiculously overplayed and underlined by both Shaw and some of Zinnemann’s directorial choices. I was relieved every time Henry VIII left the scene. And even worse is the supposedly climatic trial scene. Even if Zinnemann was trying to not fall in emotionalism and to play it detached, there’s a difference between engaging, non-judgemental objectivity and doing everything in your capacity to make it dull and alienating. In some shots everyone’s too far from the camera except More, but we only see More’s back. It doesn’t just feel stagey, which it does: it feels as if you’re watching the stage play from the worst, cheapest seats in the theatre. Worse than that are those pans the camera does over the trial’s audience, too quick to distinguish anything and then they suddenly stop in some random people laughing. Why move the camera there and why do it so clumsily, in a way that you cannot perceive what’s being filmed because the pan is too quick? And it happens twice in exactly the same way! Both times it’s to show the audience laughing, but here comes the most ridiculous thing: we’re watching the trial’s main participants, and instead of hearing the audience’s laughter and then Zinnemann cuts to the people who are laughing, Zinnemann films the prosecutor’s punch-line, the cuts to the audience, and only when the camera has started filming them, they start laughing. Then the camera does this quick pan to the right and stops in some other random faces laughing, who stop laughing, and then we cut back to the trail. LOL? It feels so staged. So BADLY staged. Even More’s big moment, his final speech before the Court, si done in a shot that feels random: the camera placed behind the judges, More’s in the distance as a dwarf before them. I’m not sure about the convenience of making More look like a dwarf in that moment, we already know he has nothing to do against them, but the camera there seems to align with the court, not underlining anything in particular and only robbing the moment of any intensity or dignity.
In other words, this is a flat, dusty, poorly directed and perfunctory period drama, that’s however not a complete failure and instead passable thanks to the great dialogue by Robert Bolt and mostly to the work of a wonderful group of actors (Robert Shaw excluded). Scofield is indeed superb, and I’m not Wendy Hiller’s biggest fan but she’s aces here, maybe my favourite work from her; Orson Welles steals his brief scenes with his impressive command of the screen and his always intriguing delivery, and most of all I liked John Hurt’s work. I was happy to see my good eye for detecting good acting still works: I didn’t realise he was John Hurt, and in each of his scenes I was saying “man, what a great actor, he’s beyond perfect in every nuance, pity that he’s probably some British supporting guy that’s never done anything else of note in film, but he’s magnificent”. And then when the credits rolled I was all so “LOL, silly me, he’s not some career-less nobody, he was fucking John Hurt”.
I saw this film when I was a teenager and though I have revisited many films I saw from this period of my impressionable youth, as I'm a completely different and mature person now, and have often had completely different opinions of the films, A Man For All Seasons is one movie I definitely know I don't ever need to watch again. That I managed to slog through it once as a kid, no less, is surely one of my greatest accomplishments, and unless I am in dire need of a sleeping aid, I can think of no other reason ever to pop it in the machine again - I mean, if I want excitement like that, I can always watch paint dry.
LOL, I wasn’t really “bored”. The movie is “boring” because of the flatness and predictability of almost everything. It’s boring in an aesthetic, cinematic and artistic way. That’s why I preferred to use the word “dull” instead of “boring”. But I wasn’t bored in the “entertainment” sense of the word. I didn’t find it hard to finish it, because the dialogue was constantly clever and the actors were constantly great save for Robert Shaw, and that helped creating enough dramatic tension to keep me interested. That’s not enough to make it anything more than passable, but I must concede that I didn’t felt it was a bad time at the movies.
Nice to welcome you to the Zinnemann hate club, McTeague.
Not crazy about his win for From Here To Eternity, either.
T E A M R I V E T T E
But I have never been a Zinnemann fan! In fact I often deride directors like Daldry by comparing them to Zinnemann.
Zinnemann could be solid (High Noon, From Here to Eternity) but always a bit on the flat, inexpressive side. I, however, had never seen him as clumsy as he is in the trial scenes in A Man for All Seasons. Not a fan of the Eternity win either here, too, but at least that showed good craft, though not artistry. I mean, there were at least 5 better directors than him that year counting only eligible American films, and I haven’t seen a lot from 1953! As for 1966, I hate that Virginia Woolf movie much more than I hate “A Man for All Seasons”, which is a movie you cannot hate because it’s too flat for that, but at least Nichols’ direction was tense and solid, and all my problems with his movie come from Albee’s badly overpraised, deeply phony and silly play. Although, Scofield > Burton. And John Hurt >>>>>>>>>>>>>> That guy from the Virginia Woolf that won in supporting.
George Kennedy did.
Ed: Err. had this confused with the 1967 race for some reason.
Last edited by Souler; 11-19-2012 at 12:20 PM.
No Walter Matthau won, true, don't know how I could forget it when just a week ago I was praising matthauˇ's win as one of the best in the category. Anyways that George whatever didn't deserve even a nomination in my book. Nor that other lady in Woolf. Only Taylor deserved her win, and Burton his nod.
Wow, I just saw Ursula Meier's Sister and I absolutely adore it. That kid has some balls. Amazing performance, I almost teared up in the scene with him and Lea in the bed. The twist in the middle made it much more emotional though I thought It was a trick for the story. The relationship between those two was truly heartbreaking. And the ending... It hit me hard.
sitting at a screening for Promised Land right now, waiting for it to start..
Iron Man 2 was dreadful- and I really liked the first one.
Recently watched films:
The Friends of Eddie Coyle - ****
The Proposition - ****1/2
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - ****1/2
O Brother, Where Art Thou? - ***1/2
How to Die in Oregon - ****