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  1.  (10823.1)
    I watched Moonrise Kingdom recently for the first time and, though I'm a Wes Anderson fan, I thought this one...lacking something.

    It was OK and at a fine standard with a good few chortles and titters but no real belly laughs. The performances were great but I didn't find myself empathizing with the characters much due to the structure of the piece that placed the island as a fabulous place away from the world with its doll houses and its gentle people and its almighty flood.

    I wanted to like it, you know, but found myself feeling it too gentle, too washed out, too...teenage, I suppose.

    I loved Rushmore, Life Aquatic, and Fantastic Mr Fox which all teenage films in their way but I just couldn't appreciate Moonrise and I don't really know why. Perhaps it was the knowledge of everything that was to come: the kids running away, the storm, the soft changes - don't get me wrong, it was great to see Harvey Keitel unexpectedly - but everything that happened we'd had warned to us before. The only mild condition of 'maybe' was the end but then it was all so soft I didn't mind.


    [You may hereafter call me a heathen.] :)
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2012
    I often say that Anderson films, like his beloved French New Wave, give you as much as you put into them. They aren't things that happen to you, they happen with you. I've seen The Royal Tenenbaums probably 50 times or more, and each time I experience it a little bit differently: see a something a little different from my own Dad in Royal, see a different part of myself in the kids, see something more complex in Etheline. While I connect with that film in ways that I understand are my own, I feel Moonrise Kingdom has a similar, if lighter, quality to it: if you are there with the kids, emotionally, you will get a lot out of it. If you want the film to feel what they're feeling for you, it's not going to happen.

    I don't know what happened when you watched it, Ben, but I feel where it broke down for you is somewhere in there. I've had others complain that his films feel "flat" or "emotionless," but the emotional core of the film doesn't come out in the expression of the dialogue, but in the movement of the character, a physical reaction, a movement toward or away some element of the film. Once you can connect with what they're doing, the mystery of why they're doing it untangles itself.

    Also, as far as laughs, c'mon:

    "Was he a good dog?"

    "Who's to say? But he didn't deserve to die."

    Forgive me if I'm misreading your critique.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2012 edited
    I would certainly say that Moonrise Kingdom was lighter and a bit emptier than Anderson's other films. But maybe the prettiest by far.

    The fox boys in The Fantastic Mr. Fox were actually a little more interesting that the boy and girl in Moonrise. Ash was both a right bastard and deeply sympathetic; his dad really treated him like shit for most of the film.

    EDIT: The "extras" for Moonrise Kingdom were really weak. Five or six trailer-like shorts featuring the actors talking up the movie.

    The "Mr. Fox" extras, by contrast, were great. In addition to the "movie magic" stuff about stop-motion animation, there were long features about the adaptation of story.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2012
    So apparently here in the UK we don't get to see Wreck-It Ralph until Feb next year.

    Why? Why would they do this to us?
  2.  (10823.5)
    @TEd - You've not misread my critique at all, sir; you've made a very a good point. You've also given me something to rewatch the film with.

    You're right about the dog too and, while I was thinking about it yesterday, the timing and the look of the:
    explosion after Harvey Keitel goes back in

    was pretty damn funny. Ed Norton should do more slapstick comedy too.

    @Flabyo - How much do you wanna bet Japan gets it two months later than us? [I always feel sorry for Japan when it comes to releases.]
  3.  (10823.6)
    I'll be rewatching Ridley Scott's Gladiator for the first time in years tonight.

    I'd forgotten most of it until I wrote 'Are you not entertained?' in an email and realized that I couldn't remember where the quote was from. One Google later and I had to watch it.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeOct 24th 2012
    It appears I'm going to see Skyfall on Friday. I'm really looking forward to it, been years since I saw any Bond in the cinema and this looks like a good one...
  4.  (10823.8)
    The team behind the excellent Choppertown:The Sinners documentary are streaming their latest movie for free over Halloween. Their previous work has been well made so it might be worth a punt
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeOct 25th 2012
    Ooooooh Kay. Don't want to overdose everyone on Moonrise Kingdom, but I'm listening to the soundtrack and reading its liner notes, and:

    Wes Anderson played on otter in a school production of Benjamin Britton's "Noye's Fludde."

    He memorized the address of the school (St. Francis Episcopal Day School, 345 Piney Point Road, Houston TX 77024) and "...I can more or less trace all of the inspirations for MOONRISE KINGDOM to that address."
  5.  (10823.10)
    So, Skyfall. To make it short and spoiler-free: It's a really, really awesome Bond movie. Everything in it works, they play out the movie's theme really well, and it works both as a fresh action movie and as a classic Bond movie. It pulls off being a transparent tribute to classic Bond without letting it get in the way of making a damn good spy thriller.

    There are just two problems with it. The rest of the movie is good enough that they don't matter that much in the end, but they kinda soured the third act a little for me.


    So the bad guy, Silva, gets captured by Bond and MI6 about halfway through the movie, after his (wonderful) introduction. It's way too early for that to be any kind of resolution, so guess what: They went with the "villain gets captured as part of his plan, and breaks back out as the good guys play right into his hands" plot.

    Except that plan wouldn't have worked if the MI6 people hadn't been tossed the Idiot Ball for plot conveniences.

    Silva's plan to re-hack into MI6's network involves them trying to crack codes on his computer by connecting it to their network. The hacker wiz Q does this without hesitation, even though Silva EASILY BREACHED THEIR NETWORK FROM THE OUTSIDE EARLIER IN THE MOVIE, DEEP ENOUGH TO BLOW UP THE FREAKING MI6 BUILDING.

    So rather than hook this computer, which is owned by a major hacker, up to a closed-up network, they hook it up to the same network that deals with both their in-house security and their secret files. A-dur.

    Of course Silva breaks free, and he goes after M. Who's currently sitting in a hearing populated by important political figures. MI6 send out the message to evacuate M immediately, because, y'know, a trained agent with serious manpower, weapons and resources is coming for her. M declines, since it's an important meeting dealing with the future of MI6 (or simply because she's too proud for it, as her comment implies).

    And then MI6 don't do anything more. They don't send out reinforcements to the building. They don't alert anyone else there. They KNOW Silva's coming there, and all they've got is Bond chasing after him, backed up by the MI6 people helping track Silva.

    Silva manages to get to the MI6 hearing, with goons, and kills a bunch of people. Even though they knew he was coming.

    It's a shame M had to die, but let's face it: If this is the kind of MI6 she was running, it was time for a shakeup.


    Do go see it, though. I love it, and those above-mentioned things wouldn't have mattered so much if the rest wasn't so awesome.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2012
    @twentythoughts - also -
    why, if they were setting a trap, weren't the whole of the highlands filled with the rest of the Double-O section and the SAS? Cuz, that would have actually rocked.
  6.  (10823.12)
    That was actually justified, I thought.

    They wanted to capture or kill Silva, and as he was pretty much a communications god, organizing all that would've left enough traces that he would know what was waiting for him - and that might make him go into hiding again, and/or start more devastating terrorist attacks. The idea was to be just hidden enough that he would come to them, putting him in a situation where he'd have to wing it and fall for THEIR traps, rather than the other way around.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2012
    I saw Looper this morning. I was very impressed. It was not what I was expecting.

    I'm planting this meme in various places, in hoping it will catch:

    I believe that the people behind Looper are the people who could make a creditable attempt at adapting Bester's The Stars My Destination* to the big screen.

    * AKA "Tiger Tiger."
  7.  (10823.14)
    @ StefanJ - Rian Johnson is on Hit.RECord if you're willing to try and convince him - you can send direct messages his way.

    Also, he can shoot the hell out of anything. So I'd encourage you to do it.
  8.  (10823.15)
    Been on a strange 90s kick for this past week: A Knight's Tale [somehow still kinda funny], Dark City [the director's cut; classic sci-fi-noir], ExistenZ tonight, Hackers soon, may even end with The Matrix just to compare it to Dark City.

    I've been recommended Strange Days. Anyone seen it? Worthy of a place in the 90s film canon [that's sometimes brilliant, sometimes tacky as all hell but the brilliance outshines the tack]?
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2012
    Strange Days is wonderful.
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2012
    I wanna give a shout out to This Must Be the Place which opens this week in the ' States.

    The movie has some really funny stuff in it, good performances and it's beautifully shot.

    The story structure is interesting. The first act is very long which is really appropriate for Sean Penn's Goth character as we get to live with him before his world changes and he has to become a Nazi hunter. There is an "intermission" of sorts where David Byrne sings and the visuals in the show he stages coupled with the camera movement indicate a change of perspective as our movie movie (specifically "American road movie") begins.

    It received some poor/mixed reviews when it came out here and I think - much like how when the Big Lebowski first came out to poor reviews - time will tell and this movie will be loved in that culty way these things are.
  9.  (10823.18)
    Of the festival circuit films I've seen recently, Big Boys Gone Bananas will have you giving Dole Foods the upraised middle finger pretty quickly. Filmmaker Frederik Gerten made a documentary called "Bananas," which looked at a lawsuit brought by a group of Nicaraguan banana workers who had allegedly been sterilized by exposure to aerial pesticide spraying. Dole Foods, the defendant in the lawsuit, mounted a successful disinformation campaign to not only hamper "Bananas"' film festival screening, but to attack Gerten's professionalism. The film will chill you with how easily corporations in America can squash information that calls them on their malfeasance.
  10.  (10823.19)
    Finally watched The Machinist, plus The Jacket that I saw mentioned next to it somewhere. Granted, I'm super easy with the "reality in flux" types of insanity plotlines, but I liked both of the films quite a lot. The latter was a little bit uneven, but I liked the atmosphere and the generally unhurried and weird tone.
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2012
    @Ben I will guiltily admit to still enjoying A Knight's Tale if I catch it on TV while flipping stations. Dark City is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. Hackers is deep in my 90's teen heart, along with Empire Records and Dazed and Confused, all three of which we watched the shit out of in High School. I thought ExistenZ was laughably bad, but still tried to watch it a second time. Strange Days to me is similar to Johnny Mnemonic in that I really wanted to like it, but always felt like I was a teacher letting a kid slide past on a D he didn't really earned because I felt bad for him.