films we just saw

Chat here about anything horror related. Be it movies, news, remakes or events.
xLeft For Deadx
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Post by xLeft For Deadx » Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:29 pm

ghouldrool wrote:personally the prestige stank worse than rotten skunk shit. The "twists" were so obvious right from the start and the story then relies on an absurd sci fi machine (but of course the Nolan fanboys will claim this film is no sci fi flick).
I've found it weird that so many magician films are coming out all at once. First was the Illusionist with Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel which I thought was entertaining enough, but nothing special. If nothing else it taught me a magic trick that baffled my girlfriend for a few minutes. Then when I saw the trailers for The Prestige, it looked so similar I was actually gobsmacked - not seen it yet, but it will be interesting to compare the full film with The Illusionist. Then Mitchell and Webb decide to go and make a magician film as well. Are magicians 'hip' again? Will David Copperfield make a comeback?

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Post by giles edwards » Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:48 pm

I should have clarified that my emphasis was on the hideously reductive rather than the gore-porn. Which is fact by the way. It's "pornography" by its standard definition, defining works that "have little or no artistic merit" and not using the term as a derogatory label a la Mary Whitehouse's 'moral right'.

The gore on show in the Saw pictures is there to cause a specific reaction and one only. With regular porn the reaction is 'sexual arousal', here it's 'revulsion'. Which is something it does very well, by the way. The f/x are ace, as I think I mentioned. But regardless of it's nerve and willingness to push the limits of screen violence it'd be a classy debater who could argue the artistic or thematic merits beyond the gross-out factor of the " threat of drowning in putrid pig" sequence. Ergo, it's 'gore porn'. No foul in that.

But look at the picture's PR campaign highlighting fake faintings amongst audience members. It's pretty reductive if that's all it does. And there's the foul.

That’s because it seems to fail to do anything beyond ‘thrilling’ the audience with anticipation about the next grim set-up which, though innovative, will lead inexorably to yet another sticky death. Or were people genuinly moved by the emotional plight of Angus McFayden's bereaved father ?

In Saw and even Saw 2, that's still a decent gimmick. But three films down and the series is depressingly predictable. It's just the mechanics of the death-traps that have changed. It’s hardly anymore cutting edge than yet another I Know What You Did… picture. Or one of the Mondo Cane follow-ups.

Hostel with its distinctive humour (whether it works for you or not, it does possess a surreal absurdist tone) and Broken (which for much of its running time is devoted to character stuff beyond the gore effects, of which there are deceptively few) certainly highlight the ‘gross’. They don’t highlight it to the detriment of anything else.

Saw III also uses the daughter as a grimly predictable punch-line whereas Broken uses the same device in a much more structural way within the narrative.

When Hostel gets to its second sequel and it’s all the same schtick merely in another city, it might well be the same song that needs to be sung as has been with Saw III.

Hostel and Broken are also not annoyingly hyper-elliptically edited. But that's a personal thing.



Now of course, much horror is predicated on the uncanny and the implausible. But a really smart writer or director would be able at least pay lip service to those implausibilities in the details of the writing. Let's take the example mentioned: Halloween as Michael Myers drives away into the night. How the hell does an institutionalised-since-pre-teens maniac drive a car ?

"He was doing pretty well last night...Maybe somebody here gave him lessons," says Dr Loomis.

Granted, it's no water-tight reasoning, but by having our lead protagonist at least allude drolly and sarcastically to the fact that there's a hugely illogical slant to the notion of Michael Myers driving off in a car, it shows some thought has gone into Carpenter and Hill's narrative. Perfunctory though it may be.

It's all in the details. Of which, I'd argue, Saw's sequels possess little.

Just because Saw III s a genre film doesn't make it any more necessary to give it a free pass. Or do we want to allow all of our horror pictures to be dumb, lowest common denominator filler? That kind of attitude does far more damage to the genre’s reputation than calling it out for being gore porn. It plays into the hands of those who feel that all horror fans like are gore, blood and more ripped flesh. When we all know the illogical and implausible and brilliant Halloween is as bloodless as Bambi but as superb a piece of cinema as The French Connection or It’s A Wonderful Life.
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Post by thesavageintruder » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:42 pm

As someone who has thoroughly enjoyed all the SAW movies and feel they have enlivened rather than weighed down the genre, i stand by my original defence of them...though having thought about it maybe "gore porn" isn't such a bad term after all. When its done well, i thoroughly enjoy watching gore movies, and porn doesnt have to be bad...........

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Post by giles edwards » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:04 am

Which is fair enough. Horses for courses, and all that. And I think we can all agree that they're better than the I Know What You Did... sequels.

Plus they're making the genre profitable.
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Post by thesavageintruder » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:36 pm

Exactly. I'm pleased that they're successful and that they have encouraged a return to a grimmer, nastier form of horror leagues away from all this PG-13 schlepp. And, having seen I'LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (they were all out of dead horses in town, it was the next best thing to spend my hard earned money on...) i am EXTRA grateful for the SAW movies!

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Post by streetrw » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:58 pm

giles edwards wrote:Saw III also uses the daughter as a grimly predictable punch-line whereas Broken uses the same device in a much more structural way within the narrative.
I spotted the similarity there, but I didn't really feel Broken used it in a better way. They're both nasty punchlines to nasty stories (both for the parents and the daughters). I suppose the difference is that Broken's heroine is concerned about her daughter all the way through, whereas for much of Saw III you're pretty much allowed to forget that the daughter even exists - but to me that makes Saw III's ending more effective; while Broken ends with an unexpected and unnecessary final kick in the nuts, we're used to the Saw movies having a nasty ending.
giles edwards wrote:Just because Saw III s a genre film doesn't make it any more necessary to give it a free pass. Or do we want to allow all of our horror pictures to be dumb, lowest common denominator filler? That kind of attitude does far more damage to the genre’s reputation than calling it out for being gore porn. It plays into the hands of those who feel that all horror fans like are gore, blood and more ripped flesh. When we all know the illogical and implausible and brilliant Halloween is as bloodless as Bambi but as superb a piece of cinema as The French Connection or It’s A Wonderful Life.
I don't think there's a problem with "lowest common denominator filler" horror movies. I think there would be a problem, however, if, LCDFs were all we had, and nothing on a higher level than Saw III. But it's not - look at the FrightFest itself. Gory slashers like Hatchet and See No Evil went down very well and we all loved them, but deeper, better, more meaningful and intelligent films like Pan's Labyrinth, The Living And The Dead, The Lost and The Host were also so well received by the exact same people. (I didn't care for The Lost at the time, but it's stuck so firmly in my mind that I wouldn't mind seeing it again.) The genre reaches wide and reaches high, but there's room for LCDF in there as well, just as comedy isn't exclusively defined by high school romps and Adam Sandler movies when there's Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers out there.

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Post by giles edwards » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:55 am

Indeed, and the sad fact is Saw III is going to make a bundle more cash than Pan's Labyrinth. Which means, by the natural evolution of things, we'll get far more of the former made than the latter.

There's no discussion I'm trying to prompt with that remark. We all know that it's the way of arthouse vs. exploitable genre product. After quite a few years working in the field, I stilll just find that a very sad state of affairs.

Still, at least it makes the gems sparkle from the dank cave wall all that more dazzlingly.
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Post by lupogirl » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:45 pm

Went to see The Prestige.

What a enjoyable film. Had a plot and twists and turns. One of those rare films that makes you pay attention to what is going on. Though I did get a bit confused with the flashbacks. :?

Saw this without knowing all the cast bar Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. Was pleasantly surpised. :D
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Post by streetrw » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:27 pm

I too saw The Prestige last night and also enjoyed it. I thought it lost its way with David Bowie's machine; I was more interested in the "magic" side of it and the introduction of a SF angle rather weakened it. But otherwise it's entertaining, puzzling and it's very well shot and acted.

Today I took the afternoon off (I have a lot of leave to take before the end of the year) and saw ££ Royale. This is a definite improvement on the last two Bonds (particularly the dreadful Die Another Day) and, while I feel it suffers from a lack of humour and is probably 20 minutes or so too long, mainly towards the end, a couple of stunning action sequences early on more than make up for it - my favourite being the one at Miami Airport. And Craig is probably the hardest, toughest Bond so far. I'm not impressed by the theme song "You Know My Name", though!

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Post by ghouldrool » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:33 pm

i feel the post credits chase scene was by far the most jaw dropping action scene in this. Follwed closely by the scene u mention.

The stuff shown there outstrips District 13 by a mile. Sorry.

The song is bland but those are the best opening graphics since Goldeneye. Craig will certainly be able to deliver the one liners once they start giving them to him.

And Vesper is now top bond girl ever! Le Chiffre being one of the most bland villains.

yes its long but i didnt feel it as much as i did during the bloated summer films from a few months ago.
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Post by soulmining » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:37 pm

I met up with STun tonight to catch a preview of Babel, the latest film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams) - it's got a wide scope focusing on three different stories; a couple caught up in an incident in Morocco, the Mexican nanny who looks after their kids, and a deaf-mute Japanese girl. Of course as events unfold we understand how all three stories are linked. It's very engaging, quite bleak in places, and I thought the Japanese strand worked best of all... Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett don't really have too much to do as the action takes place around them. Worth a look when it goes on general release in January.

Also saw ££ Royale today which I liked. Always been a fan of Daniel Craig since watching Our Friends In The North... he's a real mean, no nonsense Bond here and you can really see the origins of the character. Like Ghouldrool and Streetrw I'd agree that the two action scenes in the film are excellent, which means that the last third is slightly disappointing by comparison. But it's the strongest Bond film for a while... tightly plotted, certainly pacy in the first half, and Eva Green is great (if you like her work then check out Bertolucci's The Dreamers) and I have to say I do like Chris Cornell's theme!

Other films I've seen in the last week or so:

The Prestige - took me a while to get into it, but it won me over in the end. Liked the plot twists, was sniffing around the right areas but hadn't quite figured them out. Certainly got everyone talking after the film which is always a good thing. Thought Hugh Jackman was particularly good for once.

Breaking And Entering - quite enjoyed this one, good to see a contemporary drama set in London (had fun spotting landmarks around Kings Cross) and it didn't drift into the whole love triangle scenario as much as I feared it would... still not convinced by the relationship between Jude Law and Juliette Binoche, but it wasn't too bad.

The Host - again, good to see it with fresh eyes... really appreciated the family drama and political undercurrents more on second viewing, and the humour came out more too... very unusual monster movie!

Dead Man's Cards - low budget Brit thriller set in a Liverpool club... some good performances let down by an ending that had both Rawshark and me wondering what had just happened!
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Post by lupogirl » Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:07 pm

Saw ££ Royale. A great action packed, gadget film. Some stunning scenery and some great fight/chase sequences. Daniel Craig is excellent moody, sexy and great in swimming trucks. Shame there were not more shots of that!!!

Eva Green is also excellent playing a non twisty ankle girl and gives Bond something more to bargain with. Thought she was a tough love interest and made the chemistry between them sizzle!!

Rather stylish opening credits and a great shame with the Bond song. So limp!! Bring back Shirley Bassey!!!
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Post by Team Banzai » Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:56 pm

yep agreed on ££ royale - incidentally the biggest bond opening weekend of all time -

craig is great in the role with poss even better films to come

i do feel that the pacing of the film is off though - it NEEDS a big, cool car chase instead of that brief bit of speed follwed by mutiple flips and the film just doesn't know how to end... i hear that the next one will be a straight continuation of this film

that said the opening chase and so many elements are so good, we can almost forget the recent invisible car and surfing bond scenes - dear god!

one thing that i remember from growing up with the bond series is i couldn't wait for the end credits to reveal ....james bond will return in.. moonraker for example, which would be a surprise for the general audience who perhaps did not know the next film title etc

now how fucking cool would it have been for the producers to have put on the end of ££ a tag saying

james bond will return in ....... on her majestys secret service !!!!

i would have stood and cheered in the cinema

a remake of possibly the best ever bond - even without the great connery

yep that would have been the perfect end imo

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Post by Alex Kidd » Sun Nov 19, 2006 7:05 pm

Yeah that's part of the ritual of seeing a Bond film, staying till the end to see the James Bond Will Return bit, pitty they don't put the title at the end any more, but I guess they're never quite sure what the next one will be.

Would have jumped out of my seat if is had said OHMSS.

Loved the film as well.

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Post by AndyJWS » Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:02 am

Had heard it was biggest opening day, but weekend? In the US $7m less than Die Another Day off slightly more screens, and possibly beaten by Happy Feet (I say possibly as the animation is ahead at the moment but positions may reverse after confirmation of numbers tonight)
May still get biggest weekend here of course, although even with the less cinemas around than 2002 there were less sold out performances at the multiplex than the last Bond, but tickets being £1 a ticket dearer than then - more for deluxe - should compensate ;)

Watched Population/436 the other day, not a bad if fairly unoriginal straight-to-DVD thriller with a surprisingly good performance by Fred Durst...

EDIT: After the over £4m debut on Thursday, ££ Royale is now up to £12.5-13m in the UK, so roughly the same as the £9m Friday-Sunday of Die Another Day. Impressive considering the weak general box office, albeit with little new competition (Borat into its third week). Could be interesting the next couple of weekends, with previews then release of Aardman's latest, Jackass 2 and Tenacious D... I feel sorry for Pan's Labyrinth being released amidst all this :(
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