Patrick R

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Everything posted by Patrick R

  1. Movie/TV recommendations

    Okja, Bong Joon-ho's new film streaming on Netflix, is a complete mess but a often fascinating one with some very high highs. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a performance that consistently skates the line between hilarious and horrible. You might think it's a gentle live-action Ghibli movie from the first 10 minutes but there are so many tonal shifts and it's willing to go super dark.
  2. Baby Driver (Boss Baby Successor)

    It's always been a bonus rather than the key reason why I like Wright films, but I felt a little disappointed there weren't more in-jokes and little Easter Eggs and wondered if that background lyric thing carried through the whole film. But also you can never notice everything in an Edgar Wright film the first time so I guess that will just have to wait for the home video release. Edgar Wright is my favorite contemporary director and I worry that the thing I've always loved was actually his collaboration with Simon Pegg (I am not a big Scott Pilgrim fan) but part of why he's my favorite contemporary director is that he is so monumentally talented and has such vision, so even if he never reaches the heights of Hot Fuzz again I'm always gonna tune into what he's up to. Baby Driver is definitely a unique film, even if it isn't the full package. I hope it does well? I worry he'll never be able to get big studio budgets again but also I worry that he will and he'll be stuck doing some X-Men movie or something.
  3. Baby Driver (Boss Baby Successor)

    Did that "words of the song appear in graffiti behind Baby" thing of the coffee run happen at any other point in the film?
  4. Baby Driver (Boss Baby Successor)

    REPOST. I saw Baby Driver tonight. I wrote a thing about it, but mostly I was just baffled that it wasn't a comedy. It should have been. Good action, thin characters. For about the first hour I thought it'd be my least favorite Wright film (the central romance is awful) but once it gets into it's home stretch it's appropriately fun and exciting. If you haven't read it this interview with the editor on the pre-production process is pretty fascinating.
  5. Movie/TV recommendations

    I don't remember that line about the dog. I like the arc with the girlfriend because the set-up made me think her flakiness would end up the chief conflict but then her brownies make money and she does actually learn how to play the guitar instead of giving up when it's hard, so I think the film is specifically not judging her for being the opposite of Paterson and a jack of all trades while he is a (I presume because actually I don't know jackshit about poetry and it all sounds equally good/bad to me) master of one. I think the movie that literally just follows a normal guy on a normal week as he goes through his normal life would be excruciatingly dull, so I am glad Jarmusch was able to work in so many little encounters and moments that stuck out while never feeling too much like narrative incident. It felt less like random chance throwing a lot of interesting people Paterson's way than Paterson just being open to the world around him. I am a head-down, iPod on, shut the world out kind of person and I would have had none of those experiences if I went through those same days. EDIT: Also, I saw Baby Driver tonight. I wrote a thing about it, but mostly I was just baffled that it wasn't a comedy. It should have been. Good action, thin characters. For about the first hour I thought it'd be my least favorite Wright film (the central romance is awful) but once it gets into it's home stretch it's appropriately fun and exciting. I'd rank Edgar Wright's work so: 1. Hot Fuzz (with a bullet, funniest fucking movie of the century) 2. The World's End 3. Shaun of the Dead 4. Baby Driver 5. Scott Pilgrim 6. Fistful of Fingers 7. Dead Right
  6. Movie/TV recommendations

    Band of Brothers really is just a very long action movie, isn't it? Character arcs are very shallow and boilerplate and mostly seem to exist on a single episode basis, and I can barely tell anyone apart. Just one of the downsides of a show where your cast is all white dudes who are dressed the same. Had the same issues with Boardwalk Empire. I just finished episode 6, so maybe things will pick up from here. Luckily some of the action scenes are very good approximations of Saving Private Ryan, and since I've watched the Ken Burns doc The War and started reading Five Came Back, I finally have a context for all this. I never took a history class that covered the 20th century, and it's nice to have a basic understanding of events that actually affected people you've met (my grandfather was in the Battle of the Bulge, a fact I always knew but didn't appreciate), even if Band of Brothers definitely qualifies as what Samuel Fuller called "[a] goddamned recruitment picture". I've heard The Pacific is richer and more nuanced & complicated, so maybe I'll give that a shot after this.
  7. AFI's Top 100 G.A.M.E.R. Movies #100-91

    Yankee Doodle Dandy is a fun movie, even if the soup-to-nuts biopic structure couldn't feel more old-fashioned in 2017. Probably not going to rewatch it, so I'll just say my piece here. Cagney is definitely one of my favorite actors of all-time, and the way he effortlessly tap-dances down the stairs in the opening is maybe my favorite moment of his in any of his movies. It's the only James Cagney movie on the list, which points to the tendency of AFI to go big or go home, as his other stand-out films tend to be smaller, tougher crime movies (or the unbelievably extravagant but still tawdry and politically incorrect Footlight Parade). I think Angels with Dirty Faces is the best Curtiz/Cagney pairing, so if you like Yankee Doodle Dandy I'd earmark that one for a watch sometime. I will be very interested to see what you think of Blade Runner. I remember I put off my first viewing for a long time and the version of the film I had constructed in my head via pop culture osmosis was way different than what the film actually is.
  8. AFI's Top 100 G.A.M.E.R. Movies #100-91

    Ben Hur - For most it's running time, it's the definition of a stodgy old epic, large for the sake of largeness rather than necessity. You could tell this story in 3 hours and lose basically nothing, but the mandate for largeness stretches this on and on, slowing down each scene for maximum wow factor. I'm not so callous as to not be impressed by a whole lot of money onscreen, but that wears off pretty quickly. The only time the approach truly pays off is the chariot race, which is just as spectacular as everyone's always said it is. I've always believed that the Raiders truck chase is the greatest action sequence of all time, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out just how much Spielberg took from the chariot race, down to Judah flipping out of his chariot and climbing back in and the individual beats of reversal with the whip. Wyler is on fire in this scene, and the slow gigantic build up of massive production value before the race's start serves him well to build incredible tension, and really hammer home that this chariot race is really happening in a real space. The combination of Wyler's direction, some of the best rear projection I have ever seen and some incredibly dangrous stuntwork cements Ben Hur's place in history, if only for the 15 minutes it's taking place. Sadly, this is the only part of the film you can call Wyler's work exemplary. Most of this feels very old-fashioned (epescially compared to films like Spartacus and Lawrence of Arabia that would follow only a few years later) and plays against Wyler's strengths. He's a director who excels in emotional nuance in a story that has none, an actor's director in a film that only requires it's actors to bellow, a master of subtle blocking in a project that has no room for subtlety. And, perhaps, if this were directed by a Christian the religious throughline would feel more than an afterthought. As is, Christ's appearance feels like literal deus-ex machina, a Hail Mary (so to speak) for profundity in a film that is about little more than the simple mechanics of revenge. The final 45 minutes of this film, that take place after this revenge is complete, feel like an unnecessary slog as a result. Also, I must say, I really find Charlton Heston a singularly unpleasant screen-presence. I usually don't allow the real lives of actors to get in the way of their work, but man I fucking hate that guy. Overall I was glad to see it (or maybe just glad to have finally seen it), and it certainly tops some other epics I've attempted to watch, like Quo Vadis or Cleopatra. But the religious/historical epic is not a genre I generally go in for, so it's perhaps no surprise that I can't get onboard the masterpiece train. Also, it's worth noting that I saw a DVD on my modestly sized TV, and this is probably a whole different thing on the big-screen. Particularly a lot of those early long shots filled with extras lose a lot when they are just an ultra-wide sliver across a 30 inch TV. Toy Story - Here's what I wrote in that Pixar thread when we re-watched Toy Story: I just took a bunch of bullet point notes. I will echo everyone else's surprise at the rough animation. Facial animations especially are JACKED. I always remembered this as being roughly equal to 2 & 3 but noooo no no no. Speaking of faces, the humans all look really really creepy. I don't know if this is because of animation limitations or just really terrible design, but Sid's sister is the craziest looking thing in any Pixar movie. Truly unnerving. Sid is awesome. Sid has way more imagination than Andy. If I had to guess which one would grow up to work at Pixar, it'd be no question. To think he's probably traumatized for the rest of his life because he likes to build things is messed up. I was shocked at the lack of textures in general. If you look at the duct tape around Buzz at the end, it's just a plain grey. And the textures on the aliens look WEIRD, especially compared to Toy Story 2. I concur with Ben, the pace is really great. I wish more live action movies would be daring enough to come in at 80 minutes. It used to be way more common in the era of the double feature. The hardest I laughed was either "Marie Antoinette...and her little sister" or all of Woody's pull-string quotes. "Somebody's poisoned the waterhole!" is HILARIOUSLY dorky. All those dorky quotes really made Woody feel like a real toy from a real time and place. I watched it too many times as a kid to really be objective about this sort of thing, but I really love the army man sequence. I think it's beautifully staged and edited. Maybe the most iconic sequence in the entire film. All the voices are incredible. Amazing casting all the way through. It's a shame it took a children's film for the world to realize the comedic potential of Don Rickles and John Ratzenberger as a duo, when it was too late for them to star in their own movies. The animation feels a bit more "cartoony" and key-frame based than later Pixar stuff. Lot of more visual gags than later Pixar films. Probably because the facial animation wasn't at a point where you could really do strong subtle character-driven comedy. But maybe also the studio just wasn't there as comedy writers. I think maybe they just didn't finish the scenes where Woody and Buzz are running through the arcade machines. The bottom of those machines look like a first pass. Getting things to convincingly feel like they have weight and are propelling themselves through the world was still a little rough. A lot of the toys have so few points of articulation that they look fine, but whenever you see the birthday kid's legs running through the room, or Scud chasing them down the street, things feel a little floaty and off. All in all I'm still all about this. I can't not be, it's too deep in my blood.
  9. AFI's Top 100 G.A.M.E.R. Movies #100-91

    Guess who has three days off in a row and has spent the last year watching a bunch of William Wyler films and is currently reading a book about him and also has a big special edition version of Ben Hur he's never touched? I'm excited to watch this soon.
  10. Fair enough! I still maintain trying to remove need for nutrients is an easier approach, but maybe the reader who sent in the e-mail has already walked that one all the way down to the point where he thinks giving human beings the magic ability to summon matter is somehow less complicated. On another note, I was born in 1987 and am nostalgic for early 90's nostalgia of the 60's (as seen in The Wonder Years and The Sandlot) and mid 90's nostalgia for the 40's (Rocketeer, Radioland Murders, The Shadow, swing dance revival, Tim Burton's Batman to a certain extent). Also I have an idea of being an adolescent in the early to mid 90's that is entirely informed by MTV programming of the time (both shows and music videos) that I find endlessly appealing though I cannot begin to define a single thing that would have been better if I was born 10 years earlier.
  11. I just don't think W. W. Jacobs would ever stand for that kind of sloppiness.
  12. Hoisted. However, I think a good Djinn is concerned with a high irony factor and if I still existed I would make the Djinn admit that erasing all humans is basically a cop-out that can apply to most wishes, and probably only bad unclever Djinn ever go for it. It's like the fart joke of Djinn irony.
  13. "I wish human beings didn't need to eat to live nor ever got hungry." is still a way shorter sentence than what we got going.
  14. Maybe I'm crazy, but why, if we are in the realm of magic wishes, not just short circuit the whole eating process altogether and say humans don't need to eat to live?
  15. Also the comics feel like a natural metaphor for the arc of being in a relationship and getting to know someone deeper through it, and they take place over several months of time. The film's contracted time-frame ends up muddying the metaphor and making the entire premise feel more arbitrary.
  16. If your goal is to see The One Hundred Greatest American Films Of All Time, this list won't get you there, but if you are looking for a good overview of successful, beloved. and oh-so respectable 20th century Hollywood films it works fine. For pure quality and breadth of culture, origin, and sensibility, the Sight and Sound 250 is a good antidote, though that might err too far in favor of esoteric art films for my taste. I've always been partial to 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die as a good canon, though obviously that's way more of a commitment and the most recent entries often trend towards flavorless Oscar bait (really, does anyone even like The Theory of Everything?). There is of course, my own 50-film canon list I made on Letterboxd, which is the only place you'll see The 400 Blows and Jackass Number Two listed side-by-side. I think I will try to watch along with you, or at least watch Ben-Hur pretty soon.
  17. Garlic Pie. 3 Cups of Garlic per recipe. Also:
  18. E3 2017

  19. E3 2017

  20. The second poo story being described as Swedish David Lynch made me think of this.
  21. I just recorded a commentary track on Duel so, to clear things up, there is only one cut, the theatrical cut, currently available. It was shot as a 74 minute TV movie but it turned out so well that immediately after airing they shot four extra scenes to prepare a theatrical version for international audiences. The thing is, for this longer version they didn't just add new scenes, they actually went back and re-cut and tightened a lot of the big sequences that were sloppy due to the rushed post-production schedule. So even a fan-edit of the theatrical cut that cut out those extra scenes wouldn't be the same movie audiences saw on TV in 1971. It's this longer version that then would subsequently re-air on TV in America, so the original TV cut was actually probably seen by much less people than the theatrical one. And, considering this all occurred before the era of VCRs, there aren't even bootlegs of the original TV cut in circulation. It presumably exists somewhere but, given that it's edited sloppier, you can see why they've never included it on a home video release, even though for historical reasons they really should. To further muddy things, the film was obviously shot with TV in mind (aka 1.33:1 ratio) but the extra scenes were shot with the theater in mind (1.85:1 ratio), and when it played in theaters they expanded the whole film to 1.85:1, which added some continuity errors and mistakes at times on those scenes originally shot for 4:3. The DVD release of Duel is 1.33:1 and the blu-ray release is 1.85:1, so as a home viewer you have to choose whether to see the bulk of the film in the "wrong" ratio or the scenes added for theaters in the "wrong" ratio. If I had the hardware necessary I'd construct a fan-edit where the ratio changes like a Christopher Nolan movie. And also probably cut out the school bus scene that stops the film dead.
  22. Youtube Appointment Viewing

    I just spent more time than I'd care to admit watching this. So. Much. Tude. EDIT: EVEN THE GAMES FOR 5 YEAR OLDS HAVE TUDE.
  23. Dark Souls(Demon's Souls successor)

    I may or may not have met them? Dark Souls, like pretty much all fantasy media I've ever consumed, has way too many fictional proper nouns for me to keep track and I feel like of the 15 hours I've played only about 10 minutes has been dedicated to people who aren't the blacksmith speaking to me so I'm not sure I care much about the story anyway. But if you are saying there's some more levity to come (I just found the bonfire in the swamp) I'll gladly accept it. Though now that I think about it I suppose the game does have a certain dry humor in the way it can troll the player and certain boss cutscenes. The reveal of the Gaping Dragon was very funny.
  24. Dark Souls(Demon's Souls successor)

    I don't know if I've ever wanted the "all the enemies you've encountered" curtain call at the end of a game more than with Dark Souls. But I know that Dark Souls has too much ~sErIoUs LoRe~ for such a playful touch. Also I just got to Blight Town and have no idea what % of the game is left.
  25. Julian Barnes

    I just read Levels of Life, Julian Barnes' memoir about his wife's death and grief. It's a three part book, and the first two parts make up about half the book and are pieces of historical fiction (maybe? Real people, but plays out dramatically more like fiction than non-fiction) about the history of ballooning and a romance between a great French actress and an English explorer. The conceit that these stories play out as metaphors of the grieving process is more interesting in theory than practice. Finely written on their own, but they do very little to illuminate the second half of the book where Barnes speaks more bluntly about the grieving process, outside providing a handful of images to refer back to. But the Barnes' whose ruminations on memory and time made The Sense of an Ending such a joy to read is in full force in the second half, and it's the first time I've read anything about grief that takes an explicitly non-religious non-afterlife approach. I too believe that there is no grand meaning to death, and it was refreshing and reassuring to read about that pain from someone who feels the same. I know when my parents die everyone is going to frame everything around being "in a better place" and it's gonna really suck.