Friday, January 08, 2010

Cinematic Musings

I haven't had a moment today. What's on your mind, cinematically speaking?
Share it in the comments. Or go see Avatar again. I'm scared to ask how many times you've seen it. It's all I hear anyone talking about.


Anonymous said...

Just watched Birth for the first time.
The long close-up of Kidman at the opera after the boy collapses is my favorite part.

BrianZ said...

As bad as Leap Year was, it was less boring than Nine. Does this make me a bad person?

Robert Hamer said...

Seeing Avatar once is enough for me.

Andreas said...

Just finished Orlando, and earlier showed Rules of the Game for my college film society, then couldn't give a coherent explanation of why it was banned by the Nazis. I'm totally Avatar-ed out; don't want to hear or think about it.

brandz said...

no plans to see Avatar at all, ever. i'll be seeing It's Complicated tomorrow. I don't have high expectations but I do want to see Meryl Streep. i just can't get enough of her acting.

Anonymous said...

First time I saw Avatar, it was enjoyable.

Second time, not so much. Way too long.

Rushmore is a brilliant film, I don't know if youve seen that, but the script and cast are all brilliant. Fantastic film.

And in other news Art Directors nominees were released and Nine was snubbed.

adam k. said...

I've seen Avatar twice: once on a moderately big IMAX screen, and once on a super-big screen an hour away. Both 3D.

I actually loved it more the second time. The flaws faded to the background, and what remained was a movie that was so brazenly, confidently itself (and so BIG!) that I didn't care if the dialogue was unrealistic or the story not fleshed out enough (I actually thought it was too short... I long for the extended edition Blue-Ray). It was just a damn fun ride, and that's exactly why it wants to be.

Even Worthington's accent didn't bother me much the second time.

kent said...

6 times for AVATAR. James Cameron knows how to keep his movies entertaining even after repeated viewings.

Seeking Amy said...

Just saw The Hangover after a lot of time of putting it off, funny but not OMG DIZ IS DA FUNNIEST MOVIE EVER!!1! that i've heard about nonstop for the last several months.

Now i'm debating between watching Mansfield Park for the first time or Wild Strawberries.

Billy D said...

Hated A Single Man when I first saw it last weekend, but its grown on me. I still think Colin Firth's performance was a little one-note, but I guess that's the point now, isn't it?

NoNo said...


OK, enough of the all caps but Wow! Nathaniel, I think your review (and Katey Rich) is pretty much word for word my thoughts. I think this is the first movie I will pay to see again. Maybe in I-Max again but with the bigger dome shaped one and not in 3d.

But for tonight it's An Education...

Jason H. said...

I just watched Changeling tonight. I have a hard time believing it's a Clint Eastwood film, since his are usually great and this one was so terrible. It felt like a mediocre Hallmark movie, and I don't understand why people love Angelina Jolie so much in this movie. It seemed like she had nothing to do but cry and look wounded. I haven't seen Gran Torino (yet), but maybe Eastwood was more focused on his work in that movie than he was this one? I don't know, his direction in this seemed pedestrian, like he was just working on autopilot or something.

Jason H. said...

Also, I'm still undecided about whether I should see Avatar or not. Is it really that good?

City_Of_Lights said...

Haven't seen Avatar, won't see Avatar, won't see Avatar on DVD.

I think it's official. I hate all the top movies in contention for Best Picture. I saw Up In The Air. Hated it! Annoying characters saying annoying lines and Clooney at his Clooneist! Ugh! I felt like I was watching a Wes Anderson knock-off. Reitman and I are not on good terms...three for three...strikeout!

Wasn't the Vera Farmiga character the biggest bitch? I heard Reitman said it was an opened ended film, but I say no. There's no way in the world Bingham left his job. He went back. He got burned by love as it was his time and you have to pay the piper at some point. He learned nothing. He's going back to his old ways.

What's disappointing is some of my favorite people in the world who I really value their opinion on film and acting love this movie. Why, why? It's really bugging me.

Will be seeing It's Complicated tomorrow. Not a Streep fan, but I really want to see how Alec Baldwin and her are together.

Unknown said...

City of Lights - to be fair, you can't possibly hate all the top contenders, since you just told us you're not going to see Avatar.


Jorge Rodrigues said...

Only once and like Robert said, it is more than enough for me.

Having seen the top contenders, I'd rank them like this:

1. Up in the Air
2. An Education
3. Up
4. Inglorious Basterds
5. Avatar
6. Precious
7. The Hurt Locker
8. A Serious Man
9. Nine
10. Invictus

And I have to ask this as well. Why in hell is The Hurt Locker being so successful and well-reviewed there in the United States and people elsewhere don't seem to enjoy it even 50% as much?

I don't get it, it's strange. I liked it, I thought it was a good, well-directed, well-acted movie, but I don't think it was anything that screams "amazing" or "a masterpiece" that they're getting in their reviews.

I don't know... Maybe I need a second viewing. But I haven't met a critic here in Portugal or even amongst my cinephile friends who has enjoyed it that thoroughly... A film that may go all the way to win the Oscar...

Instead, people are thrashing on An Education, Nine, The Lovely Bones and even Precious... I don't get it (well ok, Lovely Bones I get it, too over-directed and with A LOT of unnecessary scenes - like the Susie's murderer's death in the MIDDLE of the final scene... Gosh Peter Jackson, THAT rookie mistake?)

Dennis said...

If I hear the word "Avatar" one more time.....

City_Of_Lights said...

@Stephen, well okay you got me there!

I don't consider Nine a top contender anymore but I see it's still making some people's lists. I really like that film.

Deborah said...

I have seen Avatar zero times. I saw Up last night, and that was SO lovely and SO startling and powerful. Pixar just keeps kicking the ass of the rest of the cinema world, don't they?

Amir said...

i watched messenger for a second time. samantha morton always amazes me. she's just perfect every time i see her.
i think i'm gonna watch morvern callar again tomorrow :)

Rebecca said...

I have no interest in seeing 'Avatar'. Just, nothing going on that makes me think I would like it AT ALL. Plus, those blue cat people just lie in the uncanny valley for me, and 3D hurts me eyes (contact wearer).

I saw 'Nine', it was decent - Cotillard was great, DDL was good when he was not singing (the singing was just painful for me!). Everybody else was decent to good.

I am going to watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' on Sunday with my mom & dad b/c I could not be here for actual Christmastime...that movie just makes me cry, from the opening sequence to the end (with that phone call in the middle as another peak cry point) I cry intermittently all throughout. I love it so.

Anonymous said...

have not interest in "avatar"....i am wondering what ever became of august: osage county?

mickche said...

I started to watch Avatar last Sunday, but becuase of the heat, the power went out a few times and we had to leave.
I'm just watching The Full Monty

Jared said...

Ever wondered what Taxi Driver would be like as a comedy? Then, after that, ever thank God that no has ever tried?

Well they did, and the piece of trash that came out was Observe and Report. Don't waste your time.

Mike said...

Three times for Avatar. Saw Youth in Revolt a few hours ago, very "Meh". I recommend anyone curious wait for DVD.

Craig said...

The House of Yes and Parker Posey's biting performance.

Bryan said...

I have seen Avatar only once, and I liked it quite a bit, but I am very self-concious that I liked it because it's so apparently the movie everyone's supposed to like, and not because I actually liked it. Does that make sense?

But seriously, Avatar seems to be becoming the most divisive Oscar contender. My biggest problem with it is that I wasn't really moved. Should I have been? I feel like I've seen the story many times before, and was probably moved the first time I saw it (Pocahontas, anyone?), but wasn't emotionally impacted this time.

Flosh said...

i've seen avatar twice. loved it both times. getting tired of the "great experience, meh story" reaction. as if the two have nothing to do with each other.

hopefully seeing the imaginarium of doctor parnassus this weekend.

realized earlier this week that i've apparently missed my brief opportunity to see the messenger in theater. bummer. maybe oscar nominations will bring it back around.

Ryan T. said...

Saw Avatar only the one time, but will definitely check it out again in IMAX once every showing is not sold out.

Not sure about checking any movies this weekend. I *may* see Nine, but I'm kinda dragging my foot on that one. Or Leap Year because Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are pretty enough for me to not really care if the movie sucks.

But what I'm really excited about will be the triple-whammy DVD releases of The Hurt Locker, Moon, and In the Loop next week. I didn't get a chance to catch them in theaters. Dying to see all of them!

Lucky said...

I think Avatar is getting pretty overrated. Once you get past the effects and the whole novelty thing (which doesn't feel very new anyways due to all the advertising) it's an old story dragged into almost 3 hours. Very clichéd. I was liked "yeah, Neytiri had to be the Leader's daughter", "yeah, (spoilers) the doctor had to die", etc.

I found it well executed, and the action sequences were great, but still... felt like I had seen it before, and to say that of a movie like Avatar is a bid deal.

What I did like was that Neytiri wasn't portrayed as a victim, and that she was kicking ass alongside Sam Worthington, and the ending... well, you know. Very strong for a female character in a Hollywood action flick

Blah said...

I have seen Avatar four times and plan to see it at least once more. I simply love it! As for tonight, I'm off to see Crazy Heart.

Henry said...

Seems rather quick that Avatar has risen to the second highest grossing film of all time, doesn't it?

Richter Scale said...

I saw Avatar for a second time today, and loved it even more the second time. Like someone else said, all the flaws faded to the background. You know they are there, but now that you know, you can decide not to focus on it and look for more strengths, and the film has so many strengths. It's such a moving story, and also such an important message. It's a film that questions our role in the universe, as well as the way we relate to our environment. I loved the idea of the Na'Vis making a bond with every creature they meet, the flight with the ikrans, the floating mountains, so many gorgeous scenes, and I even enjoyed some of the smaller characters, such as Trudy and Norm. And Zoe Saldana is still amazing as Neytiri. The story may not be that original, but it's beautifully told and as such I was fighting back tears near the end (and so was my cousin who saw it with me, I'd never seen her so quiet and still in her life).

Glenn Dunks said...

Still only seen Avatar once because I am waiting for kids to go back to school from summer break.

Meanwhile, yesterday (on Friday), Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time in Australia. Beating Titanic after 4 weeks. Yowzas.

adam k. said...

That was me who said that!

Lucky, how many Cameron films have you seen? I've actually been catching up with his whole ouvre recently, and the kickass strong female characters are nothing new. Part of why he makes the best big blockbuster action pics EVER.

Unknown said...

I'm having an Almodóvar marathon right now.

And I've seen Avatar twice now. It was only slightly less good the second time.

OtherRobert said...

I've only seen Avatar twice in IMAX 3-D. The second time I was exhausted and fell asleep for that whole middle hour, only to wake up right after my favorite scene in the film.

If I'm seeing anything this weekend, it's Youth in Revolt, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, or The Young Victoria. The first looks amusing, the second looks beautiful, and the third is a British period picture, a personal weakness when done even remotely right. More than likely, I'm saving my pennies and staying in for a weekend of writing, reading, and DVD watching. I can't believe I never opened my clearance bin copies of Waitress and Children of Men. Bad Robert, bad.

Anonymous said...

Please will Avatar go away!! I'm also sick of ppl avoiding Fantastic Mr Fox because they think the animation looks dodgy from the trailers. Honestly!

Cristhian said...

Considering that Avatar is a remake of Ferngully:The Last Rainforest makes it the less jaw dropping.

Daniel H. said...

Saw Avatar in imax 3D last week. A great 'ride' - but to judge it as a movie I will eventually watch it on a regular movie screen, in 2D. I actually think I might appreciate its cinematic qualities more that way. Yes, there are flaws and predictabilities, but I am basically ecstatic that it's kicked transformers 2 off the blockbuster pedestal for 2009, and that what will now be the go to example of a blockbuster is actually a beautifully made, good-hearted director's vision, rather than a lowest common denominator hate-filled shit festival.

otherwise, I just watched Fantastic Mr. Fox and Hurt Locker, 2nd time round for both, and each solidifying their place in top 10 of the year. On dvd, caught 'Read My lips' (Audiard, 2001), which blew me away. Bring on 'A Prophet'...

Catherine said...

I've seen Avatar once and that's as far as I'm going on that particular train. This afternoon, I'll hopefully be seeing It's Complicated with my mother and sister ( looks fun). I finally bought The Earrings of Madame de... on dvd, so I can't wait to give it a watch. Oh, and two nights ago I watched Penny Serenade, the last of the Cary Grant/Irene Dunne pairings I had left to watch. I'm bummed that they only made three films together, but oh well; I'm extremely grateful for what we have. I think they're my favourite onscreen couple, and the schmaltz of this particular story is elevated by the pair, who immediately make the film smarter, funnier and bitterer than the mediocre script allows. The supporting cast - Beulah Bondi and Edgar Buchanan in particular - are all top notch as well.

Andrea said...

City of Lights - "Wes Anderson-ish characters?" You mean "real people?" There weren't any stoic, sad people who spoke in a monotone, no "quirkiness". The characters in Up in the Air were fresh and believable. Maybe you need to get out more.

Michael W. said...

I'm thinking about Up in the Air. It's been three days since I saw it and it's simply a wonderful, wonderful film. Best of the year. Without a doubt.

Avatar? I've seen it once and that's enough until it gets released on DVD. I liked it much, much more than I had expected, and it's in my top 15 of the year, but compared to Up in the Air it's an empty shell. It will be devastating if it beats Up in the Air or The Hurt Locker to best picture. If UitA wins best picture and THL best director at the Oscars, it will be the first time in 12 years I agree with them on the 2 big ones. The last time was with Titanic...

So I hope they won't let me down. Cameron has enough Oscars. Avatar can take the tech awards.

Anonymous said...

I really find it appalling that so many people who claim to love cinema are avoiding Avatar like the plague and openly trashing the film without having seen it. Do they think this somehow makes them more intelligent than the general population or the critics who have gone to bat for it? I think it makes them look like idiots and worst of all total snobs. Avatar is a landmark piece of technical cinema. It's a film that is very much of this time and place. It's not just the visuals that have people seeing this movie in droves. It has touched a nerve much the same way that Star Wars did back in 1977. It's an experience that is bringing all types of people together in a theater. Whatever it's faults (and it does have faults) shouldn't it be celebrated for the reasons above?

Anonymous said...

Hello, everyone.

I just donated to Mr. R's site. Let's give him a good chance to keep on amusing us.

Marcelo - Brazil.

Towelie said...

Grayfox, Star Wars was incredibly original in everything. It is still loved today, it certainly isn't because of its visuals, is it? Avatar, having awesome visuals today, has a very average, at best, story and script. Let's see if in 30 years Avatar remains this special, the same way Star Wars has been.

But you're right, it should be celebrated for the accomplishments it has made. Isn't it being celebrated enough, though? 2nd biggest hit of all time, Oscar nomination coming up, talked to death by everyone, I don't know what you want more.

Anonymous said...

star wars relies on many of the same types of archetypes that are being employed in Cameron's film. I don't know if Avatar is going to feel the same 30 years from now and be loved the way Star Wars is (though I know plenty of people who piss on Star Wars too). I'm saying the feeling in the air is very similar. There are a lot of parallels that you can draw between the two movies. And yes Avatar is being celebrated, but there are a lot of people on this site and others who are ripping the film to shreds without having seen it. I think time will tell that Avatar will be a very important film, especially on a technical level. And this is coming from someone who doesn't even have the film in his top 5 of the year, but still enjoys it quite a bit.

Ryan Ray said...

I loved that shout out for House of Yes, Craig. I love that movie! No one ever talks about it.

I wish I could see Avatar again, but no one lives around me that will go. I have an aversion to going to movies alone. I guess I'll have to wait for a sequel.

Been trying to catch up on watching some movies. Just saw Thank You For Smoking and The Abyss. Probably the weakest efforts in both of their respective director's filmography, but I still enjoyed them. The Abyss had some really great moments! Another interesting Cameron heroine.

I think I'll watch A.I. tonight. I wonder if that will be on your list?

Paul Outlaw said...

I have only received a total of two (SAG) screeners in the mail so far. Both arrived this week. Must be the recession. Interestingly, they were Up in the Air and Precious. I've already tossed UitA in the trash, pretty promo packaging and all, but I can't wait to pop Precious (in a no frills, DVD-sized cardboard envelope w/o any paperwork) into the player.


Arlo -- you must overcome that inability to go to movies alone. The Cinema requires your solo patronage (seriously... i think the first time i ever did it was the rerelease of BLADE RUNNER in 1992 or something and I was *so* glad I did. And then when i moved to NYC i just started doing it all the time. You can't talk to friends during a movie anyway ! ;)

Paul -- just watched PRecious again last night (in that same container)

grayfox998 -- i don't really get the Avatar hate either. Especially for the story. Yes, it's not exactly "original" but few fantasy/sci-fi films are. They're all operating from well worn templates if you ask me. And I actually think Cameron's storytelling instincts are in great shape. I guess it;s the clunky dialogue but at least Cameron knows what he's doing. I mean come on.... "YOUR REAL LEGS!" (pointing from inside a giant exoskeleton) or "UNOBTAINIUM". He's totally having fun with the (pop)corn. This is a far cry from George Lucas's awkward and totally self-serious dialogue writing. So it's a shame that people have to keep harping on it as if its' atrocious like that.

Catherine -- i need to see Penny Serenade too. The Awful Truth is one of the best movies ever made.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

How is it possible that Nine didn't manage to get a spot in the Art Direction Guild nominations but Angels and Demons and The Hangover did? Gosh!


Period film
“A Serious Man,” Jess Gonchor
“Inglourious Basterds,” David Wasco
“Julie & Julia,” Mark Ricker (Editor’s Note: ?)
“Public Enemies,” Nathan Crowley
“Sherlock Holmes,” Sarah Greenwood

Fantasy film
“Avatar,” Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg
“District 9,” Philip Ivey
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” Stuart Craig
“Star Trek,” Scott Chambliss
“Where the Wild Things Are,” K.K. Barrett

Contemporary film
“Angels & Demons,” Allan Cameron
“The Hangover,” Bill Brzeski
“The Hurt Locker,” Karl Juliusson
“The Lovely Bones,” Naomi Shohan
“Up in the Air,” Steve Saklad

Clarence said...

I got Mad Men Season 1 for my Birthday and My Gosh. I can't help imagining Mad Men as a movie. It already feels like a well made movie.


Jorge ... because the guilds, just like the AMPAS often vote on which movies they love instead of which have the best of any specific contribugtion

Evan said...

I've had a great movie-watching week with first time viewings of:

Inglourious Basterds
The Devil Wears Prada
A Single Man
Crazy Heart
In the Mood for Love
Summer Hours
Where the Wild Things Are

I was most surprised by Inglourious Basterds, whose five-act structure really worked well for it.

I was most disappointed in Where the Wild Things Are. The secondary plot (that of a boy wrestling with his own demons) is great, but I don't see why that precludes having a real, base-level plot to entertain along the way.

Jeff Bridges better win the Oscar. Firth does a great job in a subdued role, but watching them back-to-back, I left the theater only thinking about Bridges' performance. It seemed more multi-faceted.