Cinecast 81 – Unholy Levels of Brilliance


This Episode:
Funny Games US (*Spoilers*), Doomsday (*Mild Spoilers*), Horton Hear a Who!, DVD picks and lots of random talk (Troma).

Unwrap the complete Show Notes…

cinecast_promo.jpg

Show notes for Cinecast Episode #81

  • Intro music: :00 – 5:57
  • Intro and shooting the bull: :57 – 8:22
  • Princess Mononoke/Troma: 8:22 – 21:41
  • Funny Games US: 21:42 – 34:34
  • Doomsday: 34:35 – 1:10:18
  • Random chat: 1:10:19 – 1:14:03
  • Horton Hears a Who!: 1:14:04 – 1:34:10
  • pre-Horton trailers (Wall-E): 1:34:11 – 1:43:59
  • DVD picks: 1:44:00 – 1:51:59
  • Closing rambling: 1:52:00 – 1:59:19
  • Outro music: 1:57:13 – 2:00:11

Bumper Music by “Lady Vengeance OST” and “The Raveonettes”


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More here


Funny Games:

Movie Club Podcast discussion of Funny Games HERE

Trailer for 1997 version:

Trailer for 2008 version:


Zed Leppelin:

Audio is off, but you get the idea. They sound good:


Doomsday:

Co-op RowThree review
Andrew’s review

Trailer:


Horton Hears a Who!:

Andrew’s review (coming soon)

Trailer:


Wall-E Trailer:

Hi-res trailer at RowThree in Quicktime format

YouTube version of trailer:

Johnny-5:


DVD Picks for Tuesday, March 18th

Kurt:
Funky Forest: The First Contact
Funky Forest: The First Contact
Andrew’s review

Southland Tales
Southland Tales
Andrew’s review
Kurt’s Extended Thoughts

Andrew:
Atonement
Atonement
Andrew’s review

Enchanted
Enchanted
Andrew’s review

Other DVDs mentioned:
Revolver
Love in the Time of Cholera
Battlestar Gallactica (season 3)


Comments or questions?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us:
feedback@rowthree.com (general)
andrew@rowthree.com
kurt@rowthree.com
– – Kurt’s BLOG

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John Allison
Editor

I think my comparison of Doomsday with Transformers comes not so much from the movie itself but from the people who are championing it. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone in particular but I just felt this vibe that because it does pay homage to all these great movies and does go so extreme that the reviews that are promoting the movie are overlooking the flaws.

You are right Andrew, I really expected to love Doomsday and I am going to give it a second chance once it comes out on DVD or I'll go again if anyone I know in Saskatoon wants to see it.

The audience I was in had maybe 10 people. It was the very first showing for the day at 3:50 in the afternoon so it wasn't really a pumped up audience. Everyone just sat their quietly. I'm sure if I had seen it at Toronto After Dark with the huge pumped up crowd I would have liked it a lot more. I even had fun with Name of the King and Poultrygeist and I'll give you that this is a much better movie than either of those two.

In some ways I'm kind of glad that we all didn't feel the same way about it though since it made the review more interesting to read. I'm all for us gushing over movies when we all agree but I also love the chance to argue a bit. 🙂

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Oi. Apparently we missed: 13 Tzameti, Mulberry St. and Criterion's THE ICE STORM release. Wow. This tuesday is a big DVD day.

Marina Antunes
Admin

13 Tzameti again? Wow. Palm already released a pretty nice looking transfer of that film.

John Allison
Editor

I haven't gotten to the end yet but it looks like you also missed The Mist being released on DVD this week.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Who the hell is Dr Zeus?

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I have enunciation Problems. Perhaps I should have kept saying Theodore GUYsel.

🙂

Ben A-fleck

PAP-rika

🙂

At least we achieve communication of some sort! 🙂

John Allison
Editor

Everywhere I check says its on the 18th. Perhaps it was delayed… Weird I just checked Amazon and your right next week.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I expect the odd mispronunciation from you Kurt, it was more amusing to me that you found a completely new way to mispronounce Seuss.

***SPOILER WARNING***

The correct pronunciation of Seuss rhymes with voice.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Deal with it Drew. With all that talk of Zeusian style animation I am now expecting Horton Hears a Who to be chock full of thunderbolts, adultery, and bestiality. Huzzah!

rot
Guest

haven't listened yet but wanted to add my two cents on Funny Games (US): awesome. at least a dozen people left my showing of it long before the torture began… it was as if the threat of violence alone was enough to get people out of their seats. Never saw the original but this was so much better than I thought it would be. Have the original in my zip list… to see which is better. I can't imagine anyone can top Michael Pitt and Naomi Watts. I really think Naomi Watts is an actor that is underrated… loved her in 21 Grams.

quite possibly my favorite film thus far of 2008.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I think you will like the 1997 one equally, and be amazed at how well Haneke did do the remake. It's pretty darn close to shot for shot. Both films are brilliant and uncompromising film-experiments which come off as full successes (in my book).

Matt Gamble
Guest

I think the only reason why I would rate the remake above the original is because of the theater experience. I had the pleasure of watching it with a decent crowd of about 50 people who clearly had not seen the original and it was a blast. What started out as cackles and the ocassional mocking of the film slowly but surely shifted to uncomfortable silence as Haneke worked his magic. The man is a master.

I'm sure the original would have been the same, but I have only seen it on DVD and never have had the distinct pleasure of watching it with a crowd. Both are masterpieces but I have to tilt my favor to the new version.

rot
Guest

I have to say I came late to the party when it comes to appreciating Haneke, but I am a full-on believer now. The first time I saw Cache I wasn't that taken with it, and the same with Time of the Wolf but I am coming around to him.

any others of his I should check out?

regarding Funny Games, its surprising how much tension can be derived yet so little of the violence is onscreen.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

rot: Code Unknown

(I must say that Time of the Wolf, Cache and Funny Games are my favourites though, I've not seen The Piano Teacher or Benny's Video)

Necron_99
Guest

I'm curious as to why the hell anyone would want to watch, let alone make, a film like "Funny Games", or any of the other "torture porn" dreck.

Seriously, what exactly is the point of watching sadists torture people for an hour and a half? The film had NO plot. There is no merit to this movie other than to revel in sadism. I think a person who enjoys viewing this sort of experience needs therapy, because cruelty was not a just means to an end here, it IS the ENTIRE film.

Does the film makes you worry about what's going to happen next? WOW! How utterly brilliant!! Locking off a shot for 10 minutes while people are being casually murdered? Pure Genius!? Man it doesn't get any more clever than that!!

Now I'm not against violence or action in movies per se, and a brutal film like "A Clockwork Orange" actually does have something meaningful to say. But this film is the equivalent of watching Ted Bundy's home movies of him killing people.

Which is to say there is NO real point to it all, except to vicariously satisfy people's inner depravity. I'm stunned that people justify to themselves that being exposed to this sort of stuff if ok because it's "entertainment" or "art"

Why don't we just make "art" of people drowning and dismembering kittens. That would be "brilliant filmmaking" right? You know, a "commentary on modern violence in society that plays with the audiences perceptions and expectations blah blah blah" Why pretend to have a plot, why not just string together clips from Ogrish.com?

I'm guessing the kind of person who enjoys torture porn films also surfs the net hoping to find videos of soliders in Iraq getting killed. Hey, that's just escapist entertainment too, right? Real, fake, what does it matter?

I'm rambling here.. but suffice it to say that watching "Funny Games" added nothing to my life, and instead took something away from it. I feel diminished and degraded after seeing it. I saddens me to see others acknowledge its existence, let alone throw accolades at it.

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

"Why don’t we just make “art” of people drowning and dismembering kittens. That would be “brilliant filmmaking” right?"

Actually, this movie sort of exists, It's called "Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat" – although that film is a documentary on two kids who filmed killing a cat and were arrested and tried for animal cruelty.

The point of art is to ask questions. The fact that Haneke continually reminds his audience that this type of thing is construed as entertainment is exactly the point here. Haneke is aiming to be provocative. I think (judging by your response Necron_99, that he succeeded.

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

Also, I don't know of anyone that actually 'enjoys' funny games. Whereas, the same cannot be said for something like Saw or The Hills Have Eyes II.

rot
Guest

I could give or take the academic aspect of Funny games, with the fourth wall break, for me it was the pure visceral nature of the experience that won me over. Film is a way to experience things you may or may not experience in your everyday life, its a way to place yourself in someone else's shoes and postulate how you would cope under such circumstances. we are all fragile, mortal beings that live every day with the spectre of death around us. we know there are sadists in the world, nihilists, savage people, and that nature itself is brutal and at any moment can wipe us out. I acknowledge this existential anxiety and see something like Funny Games as a way to vicariously experience the 'moment' when I am faced with this fact of reality. There is an inevitability to the torture which is allthe more unnerving then the actual acts themselves. when you remove hope from the equation you are left with confronting directly impending annihilation and experiencing that, letting that kind of scenario wash over me, is something worth doing. It unclutters everything and makes you sum up life and sum up what you are all about. I was intrigued by the fact that despite the harrowing narture of the story I was still partially turned on by the half-naked Naomi Watts… it goes against what I would think are my theoretical ethical opinions of myself to show the baseness that I possess and possibly we all possess… it challenges us to evaluate life and our responses to death.

John Allison
Editor

@Necron_99 – I look at a movie like Funny Games (I've only seen the original) as something along the lines of almost a documentary. We watch it in order to make us ask questions of why we watch movies like Hostel and why there exists movies like the cat killing one that Kurt mention.

Watching Funny Games should make you consider why you watch movies like Hostel, Friday the 13th, most action movies and really any movie that includes violence. Is it an enjoyable watch? For someone who isn't a movie buff I would say hell no but it is something that I would encourage everyone to see if they "enjoy" movies that show violence in anyway. When you watch the other ones hopefully you will think about the fact that you are enjoying the violence. Now as a film buff I love Funny Games for how it manages to asks the questions and how it plays with our expectations.

Jay C.
Guest

Necron_99

There are many interesting/disturbing/amazing aspects of human nature, none of which are more worthy of exploration than the other in my opinion. Whether it be through drama, satire, comedy or horror, I think every film has a role in analyzing how people work.

Henrik
Guest

Violence can be exploitative. But I think when the violence in a film disturbs you, it is the right kind of violence, because violence in real life should disturb you. Something like The Passion of the Christ for example, for me anyway, completely misses the point because you become so desensitized to it, that in the end you don't feel anything. Clockwork Orange does violence the right way.

I think the real film you should be crusading against however, is Fight Club. Another provocation, but it actually goes so far so as to say that violence is life-affirming and the only way to truly live – which I think anybody who has actually experienced violence will agree is ridiculous.

rot
Guest

@Henrik

desensitized during Passion? really? With the exception of maybe the opening of Saving Private Ryan I have never been as disturbed by violence onscreen as I was in the Passion. I know there is a lot of hate for the film but I am one of the dissenters who thinks, again, as a visceral experience Passion is one of the most unrelenting. It would make for an interesting film to discuss in the movie podcast methinks.

I think in Fight Club Jack comes to reject Tyler, and there is a tinge of satire to the point that people in the modern age are so numb that they need to be pummelled to feel something

Henrik
Guest

I can honestly say that about 1 hour in I was so incredibly bored I had to struggle to stay awake. I didn't feel anything.

If I can wave my flag of pretentiousness, I think that Fanny & Alexander has one of the most intense, memorable and horrifying portrayals of violence I have ever seen. And it's probably as far from The Passion of the Christ as you could ever get.

I was completely disaffected from Saving Private Ryan as well. I was bored during the opening of that film, but maybe it was just because of the expectations, because when my dad and I went to see it in the theatre the clerk told my dad that he shouldn't take me unless he wanted to ruin my childhood (in 1998, I was 11 years old). So we saw Snake Eyes instead, and I watched Saving Private Ryan when it came out on VHS and was bored to death by it.

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

@ Henrik. Which is why Fight Club is great satire. So good that far too many people actually miss it. Which is strange, it's not particularly subtle.

rot
Guest

Saving Private Ryan in a theater would be a different experience. did you see Passion in a theater?

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

I was totally desensitized watching PASSION OF THE CHRIST, it was like a comic joke, over-emphasising things to 11. I didn't see much difference between PASSION and DOOMSDAY actually. Both made me giggle.

The only difference was that much of the crowd that I saw it with (busload of church-groups) were giving off a 'with-it-vibe' (maybe my own bias made me feel this way) that made my laughing seem a bit out of place.

It's the music-video nature of which PASSION is shot and scored.

Funny Games takes a radically different aproach to visualizing the narrative, and it is more effective. It's a visceral experience, and I mean this as someone who has seen the 1997 version 3 times, and knew exactly what was to come with the 2008 version, yet still on the edge of my seat. That is good filmmaking.

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

I saw both Saving Private Ryan in theater (visceral) and Passion of the Christ in the Theater, (started off visceral, turned to joke in rapid order).

the phrase (often uttered on FARK.COM) "jesus chainsaw massacre" comes to mind, but then again, I found the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre" to be a quite visceral and real experience…

rot
Guest

I am conscious of Passion being amped to 11, and far from subtle in anything it is doing, but I cannot deny the fact that I was shaking throughout the film, that on some primal level the depictions of violence in that film were having a physical effect on me. Ultimately I think this is entirely the point of the Passion, and Passion plays in general… its about empathizing with the victim. I see the sillyness of Judas and other gripes but the sheer attention to brutality in the film, torture porn has nothing on it.

Henrik
Guest

I do think Fight Club has some nice satirical content, but it's having its cake and eating it too in some sense. The 'Office Space'-nature of some of the scenes seem to be more about rebelling against modern society by punching eachother and showing up with blood than anything else.

I saw Passion in the theatre. I hardly think Saving Private Ryan would have been any different in the theatre when it comes to personal involvement. The nameless faces and ridiculousness of the cinematography ruins any sort of actual investment on an emotional level for me.

Henrik
Guest

I was at the press screening for Funny Games US today, and at the long take after the visitors leave the house, a reporter in the row behind me threw up.

I think that the 'warmer-hotter' scene was brilliant, but it also made it obvious who the director of the action was, so they didn't need to make a remote scene later on for me. But I understand the need of provoking.

In the end, it's appropriate that the film is now in american, because it's americans who need to see the film, since they are the worst infected part of the moviemaking world when it comes to the cancer-esque invasion of violence in the art of filmmaking.

Henrik
Guest

I mean I just listened to the movie club podcast discussion, and some of the comments by Jay C. and Andrew J. just proved the sick and perverted relationship to violence that growing up with films from North America will give you. Especially when Andrew was going on about "Why don't these people do something?!? All that happened was that he was hit in the knee with a golfclub!" and Jay talking about how it's condescending to look down on people who love extreme violence as entertainment.

Kurt
Guest

I understand the fingerwagging Henrik, but most of human entertainment endeavours feature violence at the centre, it's the way we are wired.

Kudos for Haneke chewing on the concept for a second time. I think the most telling success of both Funny Games is how adept Haneke is at re-pulling the viewer back into the story after continually pointing out how stacked the deck is. Both within the 1997 & 2007 versions, and across the two version (it's only natural to compare, and you know how its going to end, yet still sucked into the narrative. So the perhaps unintentional other point the films make is just how pliable we are as an audience…and perhaps gullible.

The fact that in the end, the film is just craft and thesis, well, that tends to get people backs up more than the violence, me thinks. People don't like having their chain pulled and then told about it. I'm not speaking for myself though, I love both Funny Games, as well as almost all of the filmography of Lars Von Trier….

rot
Guest

so Henrik, let me get this straight, you have a problem with visceral violence onscreen? What makes depicted violence perverse exactly?

I would say a reaction could be qualified as perverse maybe if pleasure was derived, insofar as sadism is peverse. I don't think any of us are saying it was pleasurable to watch the violence occur in Funny Games. Dirty Harry and Rambo, those are films where violence for pleasure is likely. Funny Games, for me, was about making you experience the genuine pain of violence, it was the personifications of that candy-coated uber-violence confronting reality (the family, whom we identify with). its not perverse, not flippant, but very serious and effective. The 'funny games' may not be serious but that is part of a violence-as-entertainment personification that is integrated within the larger sober reality.

Henrik
Guest

Yeah I don't have a problem with the violence as depicted in Funny Games, I have a problem with the violence depicted in Saw. And a reaction like the one Andrew had on the other podcast just screams out having grown up with Bruce Willis action movies where the hero just needs a tournequet and everything is fine, which is a twisted mindset towards violence. I imagine growing up with North American cinema gives you the same mindset towards violence that growing up watching hardcore porno would give you towards sex.

And in no other artform is violence so extremely prevalent as it has been and is in film. Why this is so is mind-boggling, and it might be an obvious conclusion that filmmaking has in such a big way been born and pushed by economic interests and a capitalistic society, that it is in the end only a natural thing that it would in large part reflect the lowest of low in humankind.

Ross Miller
Guest

I wrote a few paragraph responce to one of my favourite film critic's (Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune) review of the American version of Funny Games. Here it is if you care to read it:

"This seems to be a film that splits audiences (like with the original; see RottenTomatoes for the like/dislike examples of opinion for both versions) and don't the best films? I think you either just don't "get it" and therefore don't like it, you do "get it" but just don't appreciate it or you do "get it" and really appreciate it. I am in the latter category, for both the 1997 version and the updated, almost shot-for-shot American version.

Like Haneke's previous Cache (of which feels like possibly a second chapter of what he was trying to say with Funny Games in '97) the film is ice cold and uncompromising from start to finish, never once swaying you either way with regards to what he wants you to feel. In '97 I think Funny Games worked fantastically and I had my doubts that the American, presumably more widely appealing version would have much point to it. But in my opinion this version works just as well, perhaps even better than the original. The main reason being, in my opinion, that it is suited more to not only American movies but the state of violence in the country in general.

What I love about this film (again; both versions) is the directors commentary on the state of violence in movies (American specifically) and more importantly it plays with audience expecation. When the white-wearing smart home invader turns to the camera and says "I bet you're on their side" and "Do you want a plot development?" the director is basically showing that we are all used to the same stuff happening in films, especially of this kind, and this film is refusing to be that way. This point is made even stronger when the infamous "rewind" scene occurs. Usually in movies of this nature the family will be kidnapped and terrorized by villains we are forced to hate because of their criminal nature and behaviour. The director allows the conventional plot point to happen, the mother picking up the gun and overcoming the bad guys, but as soon as he's dangled the expected safety in front of you he then proceeds to snatch it back by rewinding the film to the point where the character can knowingly prevent that expected action. This is, in fact, a stroke of genius. The whole film is in fact.

Some may say that if the director is commenting on violence in movies then why is he proceeding to have violence in it at all? Well are we forgetting that the violence happens explicitly OFF-screen. This avoids any controversy because of what's on-screen but creates plenty, and perhaps more, by having it off-screen. It all comes down to whether you "get it" and if you appreciate what he's trying to do or not. Pretentious, I hear you say? Genius, is more like it."

…thoughts?

Henrik
Guest

Oh and about the filmmaker yanking my chain, I love it. It shows balls – which I admire – and if the film can hold up to it, and I think Funny Games US does hold up just as much as Lady in the Water, it's just another layer to the experience. There is no doubt that either movie is a formalists wet dream, and while I personally have little patience for people spending their time trying to map out films and analyze how audience perceives the intrigate mapped out decadence, in a film like Funny Games US it does add a certain flavor to the experience, that doesn't annoy me. It's definitely a film where the content is practically irrelevant to the point of the film, even if it does start off by lulling you into a comforting feeling of the opposite being the case.

Henrik
Guest

I agree with the points of Michael Phillips Ross, even if they are too obvious for me to have pointed them out.

Kurt
Guest

"even if it does start off by lulling you into a comforting feeling of the opposite being the case."

This sentence confuses me. I think Haneke states things quite obviously right over the opening title with the Classical music giving way to the screaming-angry-music. This particular device is very rich, because like United 93 (one example of many) or any movie where you are sure that something bad is going to happen, and it puts you on edge, every hint and scene tightening up the tension. I love the fact that I'm immediately uncomfortable as Haneke lingers on mundane details, like putting a boat in the water, cutting up beef tenderloin, or a barking dog in the background…

Even if it were possible to avoid marketing materials, or the 1997 version and go in cold, I'd conjecture that the average viewer is uncomfortable right from the get-go.

See also Cache, which accomplishes all of this through a single static opening shot of, well, just a city street.

Henrik
Guest

Yeah, but there is no way of knowing that the film is ultimately a formalistic theorem rather than a narrative, and the opening of the film while untraditional and unpredictable like a psychotic person, has not overtaken the characters just yet. I mean scenes like the cellphone conversation and the boatrigging give you the false sense of the characters in the film actually mattering.

Even though it is also in a major way commenting on the content of films… So I guess Haneke isn't pulling any punches, exposing both the narrative repetition and ridiculous hyperrealism that cinema – and especially – violent cinema to a large degree suffers from.

I appreciate the bouncing off of ideas, concepts and philosophies on this with you guys – obnoxious as I may be about it. It's always helpful to try and put things in perspective before having to go through the dreadful chore of reviewing the film you've watched.

Henrik
Guest

And I can comfortably say that after seeing Funny Games US, I can't fucking wait to get to Caché.

Kurt
Guest

@ Cache – Yea, Henrik…Run Don't Walk.

Likewise on Time of the Wolf and Code Unknown….

Henrik
Guest

He is able to hobble around. He even attacks the visitors at one point. But there is not much you can do without being able to stand up, which you aren't with a broken knee.

In reality it doesn't take more than a tiny disc misplacing itself to completely immobolize you. A broken knee will hurt like you wouldn't believe, and was portrayed accurately in the film.

John Allison
Editor

I personally have no problem with the escapism of "American" violence. I do think that everyone should consider what they are watching and odds are that they probably do not and that is where movies like Funny Games come in. They are a reminder that violence is not enjoyable.

I remember when I was a kid I saw a dog run over by a large truck. The image is still with me today. Real violence of any kind has an impact. Most movies are a form of escapism and therefore they do not need to follow the rules of the real world. If they did I do not think that movies would be what they are today. You can not escape when something is portrayed truthfully in my mind. I applaud movies like Funny Games but I would not want to make a hobby out of just watching movies like that.

I would also say that to point the finger at America is not necessarily being truthful. I have seen many and I mean many movies from other continents that follow along the same lines. Johnnie To, Takashi Miike, John Woo, Alexandre Aja, Luc Besson, Christophe Gans, Edgar Wright and others come to mind.

I am one of the people who enjoyed the first Saw movie and also both Hostel movies. They each brought something new to the horror genre and it wasn't just the blood and guts it was parts in their story that I enjoyed.

Basically entertainment should exist on many different levels. There should be movies that are completely used for escapism where the good guys can't miss and the bad guys can't hit. There should also be movies where the bad guys hurt the good guys. There should be movies that look at violence and make you feel dirty for having enjoyed the others.

This also applies to every aspect of human nature. I want movies that deal with sexuality on both light means and also in various serious tones also. I want light hearted dramas and serious ones. I want movies like Irreversible and also like Scary Movie. All movies won't be for everyone but in my mind you should never just have one style.

John Allison
Editor

"I don’t mean that getting hit with a golf club in the leg isn’t a big deal. I simply meant that I was having trouble with some of the plot details. When my family is in some serious, serious danger… I think I could overcome the pain of a broken knee and be able to at least be able to hobble around (which he miraculously does after the bad guys leave – which was particularly annoying). That was all – it’s like his body is shattered and he can barely move throughout the entire ordeal which I just thought was not realistic."

I don't think it comes down to just pain that disables him. I really believe that its just the physical threat and having you power taken away that breaks him. I compare it to all the real life situations where you will have a small group of people being able to hold a larger group hostage. If every person does stand up against the attackers you will likely be able to overcome the threat but its probably damn hard to be able to take that first step and build up the courage.

John Allison
Editor

"I appreciate the bouncing off of ideas, concepts and philosophies on this with you guys – obnoxious as I may be about it. It’s always helpful to try and put things in perspective before having to go through the dreadful chore of reviewing the film you’ve watched."

Hey Henrik, you can be as condescending or obnoxious as you want around here. We will encourage discussion and hope that everyone is able to deal with it. The only discussions that I have a problem with are ones where anyone attack someone personally for their beliefs or if racist or sexist comments start coming out. Oh and I really hate any comments that disagree with my opinions. 😉

Henrik
Guest

"Basically entertainment should exist on many different levels. There should be movies that are completely used for escapism where the good guys can’t miss and the bad guys can’t hit. There should also be movies where the bad guys hurt the good guys. There should be movies that look at violence and make you feel dirty for having enjoyed the others."

While I in essence agrees with this (how could I not?), it's the signal-to-noise ratio that I think is skewed.

Kurt
Guest

David Cronenberg has always maintained that his films intend to give you an experience (vicariously) into a world or society that you would not otherwise have a glimpse into (both sci-fi of ExistenZ, Scanners and Naked Lunch, or more grounded like Eastern Promises, Spider or Crash).

I think people are fascinated and horrified by real violence, but because it is so intense, people are drawn to it too. Thus all the violence in film. The same can be said of Sex, Love, and Food, all of which are also prominently focused on in movies.

The blossoming of violence in american cinema is as much a factor of the MPAA ratings system and 'soft-censorship' via the Hayes Code in the early 20th century or the dreaded NC-17.

The reason why the 1970s is hailed as the best period in american cinema is likely because there was a pretty big roll-back on the soft (release) censorship in the rating systems… "X" movies could compete for major awards and play in mainstream theatres. NC-17 seems to have murdered that in the 1980s, 90s, and 00's…yet for some reasons, the MPAA continually allows the envelope of violence to be pushed with a simply R rating. A pubic hair and oops, can't play in the multiplex….

And things spiral downward from there.

The plus side is DVD which seems to chuck out most of the hard-fought censorship (both real censorship and self-censorship) even in R1 releases, and it opens up for importing…

Marina Antunes
Admin

I think the real point behind the father being unable to help his family gets back to our expectations from film. Some of us champion women in strong roles but we sometimes fail to see that more often than not, female roles are cornered into damsels in distress, even if they aren't weeping. Here we have a case where the husband is put in that position and we point out the fact that it's not believable. I think it's probably more believable than most would care to admit.

Kurt
Guest

I think Haneke has even more fun (not sure on this, but just a theory) in the 2007 US version by intimating that Tim Roth has a working cellular phone in the car, and Naomi Watts simply forgets about it and goes off to run down the road. Much like the camera lingering on the knife early in the picture to have it simply not matter later. Haneke playing with audience expectations…

This is arguable the only major new development in the 2007 version and it's just cast aside, I find it difficult to believe this was an accident.

Henrik
Guest

I think the visitors took their car, because I don't remember seeing them having a car at any point. Also, it explains why Watts would be comfortable once she recognized the other car as not being their own, right? They clearly drive away from the house after arriving by foot, and if they hadn't drove off in the family's car, it would have made sense to risk going no further than the car to get Roths cellphone once they realized it was available there.

Kurt
Guest

Ahhh. It all seems so clear now.

Makes sense.

(I still like my theory better…but have to agree with that precise logic…)

Marina Antunes
Admin

My understanding of the car bit is like Henrik's. I was under the impression they took the car.

Jay C.
Guest

"I mean I just listened to the movie club podcast discussion, and some of the comments by Jay C. and Andrew J. just proved the sick and perverted relationship to violence that growing up with films from North America will give you."

This comment is so obnoxious I don't even know where to begin! All I can say is…this coming from someone who loves Mortal Kombat? Why don't you try focusing your argument by criticizing the films rather than condemning the people who like them and the country they come from.

"and Jay talking about how it’s condescending to look down on people who love extreme violence as entertainment."

I thought it was condescending in that it was extremely obvious and hardly subtle. I would say it panders to intellectuals. As for myself, I have no issue at all with violence in film. I think anyone who outright condemns violence in film is pretty narrow minded. But I guess you're not outright condemning violence in film. You're condemning violence in films you don't like.

Henrik
Guest

Mortal Kombat doesn't have violence in it. If anything, it's Looney-Tunes style violence. And I don't love it, I just think it's a pretty funny joke. If it hadn't had lightning and iceshooting people and a dragonman I would hate it.

I'm condemning violence that is portrayed in a certain way, not necessarily connected to the film that it is a part of. The average american widely-released film contains shitloads of violence that doesn't mean anything. And most of them take themself seriously.

I do think that watching violence just to break boundaries is something that I am allowed to label 'bad taste'.

In the end, it's not that I look at a movie and think it's bad and then condemn its use of violence, its use of violence is obviously a huge part of why I would not like the film. You've got it the wrong way around – but I will admit to not loving everything, and clearly pointing out my reasons for holding some things in higher regard than others. I guess it's arrogance if I don't put excuses and qualifiers to try and appease people that don't agree with me.

Jay C.
Guest

"I do think that watching violence just to break boundaries is something that I am allowed to label ‘bad taste’."

Then why did you like Funny Games? It used violence to break boundaries.

"Violence can be exploitative. But I think when the violence in a film disturbs you, it is the right kind of violence, because violence in real life should disturb you."

Again, I point back to your first comment above.

And I don't think violence should only be used as a device to disturb. It's used successfully in comedy…(Do you have something against The Looney Tunes? How 'bout Jackie Chan?) How about music? Metal bands use violent imagery consistently to sell records and maintain a certain image, as do many hip hop artists. Video games? Comic books?

Henrik
Guest

I think Hostel uses violence to break boundaries. There is hardly any violence in Funny Games US, and there doesn't need to be. It's a realistic portrayal.

Music can be aggressive I agree, but I wouldn't say it was violent.

I'd rather not get into those newer artforms because I think alot of it owes an extreme amount to movies.

The Looney Tunes I have no problem with. I don't have a problem with a film like Pulp Fiction either. Jackie Chan is a bit more towards the stuff that I don't like, but it still doesn't take itself seriously. But take stuff like Batman Begins, Casino Royale, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, Indiana Jones… It's all based on violence being the center of the universe, and I can understand people growing up with films in this tradition having a fetichistic relationship with violence. Even the films that try and shake it up a bit and call you on it, like people mentioned Fight Club, still show the violence in a completely gratuitous manner. Again, that's how america does it.

Funny Games US is more redeemed, because it doesn't show anything, only comments on it. It's still a suspenseful movie at times though, but I don't think the comment would have worked if it hadn't been, because it would have proved that you needed violence to make a violent and suspenseful film.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Remember Henrik also judges how good a villain is by how he dies. But then he doesn't like violence, oh no, he condemns it. Yes he does.

Jay C.
Guest

What about Deathproof?

Henrik
Guest

Death Proof doesn't take itself seriously either. It is as aware of it's audience as looney tunes is, and as self-mocking.

What villains have I judged by their death Matt Gamble? I'm sure you're right, but I can't remember it myself.

Henrik
Guest

And I don't condemn violence in art, I just think that films contain way too much violence. Heck, in most cases (say 70-80%) it is the backbone of the situations and development of the story. It's at the point where seeing something that doesn't devolve into action is actually an event in and of itself.

John Allison
Editor

I'm going to somewhat side with Henrik here. Many movies (especially most horror remakes) rely on violence without ever really looking at the violence itself or even going so far as just forgetting that a story is actually needed to go along with the violence.

Jay C.
Guest

"Many movies (especially most horror remakes) rely on violence without ever really looking at the violence itself or even going so far as just forgetting that a story is actually needed to go along with the violence."

Yes, but that's just a bad movie. For me, that has nothing to do with the fact that there's violence in it.

I love horror movies. I have no qualms with violence. That doesn't mean I automatically like the Saw movies. I thought the first one was horrible.

And Henrik, I guess only you can really decide on what makes one form of violence more acceptable over the other. I sure as hell can't figure it out.

Jay C.
Guest

And by the way, if every film that contained violence made some sort of social comment about violence, I would shoot myself in the face.

John Allison
Editor

"And by the way, if every film that contained violence made some sort of social comment about violence, I would shoot myself in the face."

And then you could make a movie of it and we'd all watch it because its violent.

Jay C.
Guest

I haven't seen any of the other Saw films.

I challenge anyone to rewatch the first Saw film and not be reminded of Ron Burgendy by Carey Elwes WAY over the top performance.

He's trapped in a glass cage of emotion the entire film.

Matt Gamble
Guest

What villains have I judged by their death Matt Gamble? I’m sure you’re right, but I can’t remember it myself.

Scar from The Lion King. In fact you hold the film in absurdly high respect because of how he is killed.

Ross Miller
Guest

I'm with Andrew there with regards to Saw. I still heart the first one, just rewatched it again the other night there and I hate how it gets lumped in with the gore-fests of 2,3 and 4. When you look at it on it's own there isn't even that much gore in it and despite it's flaws (technical mistakes, way too over-the-top acting and all) it's a worthy film. I still enjoy the second one for the idea of it all but the third was a bag of shit. I saw (pun intended:P) the fourth one and I gotta' say it's an improvement over the third. That's not saying much, I know, but it's something. It gives more insight into the Jigsaw character (flashbacks etc) so at least it's attempting to give the series some subtance again instead of just having gore for the sake of gore on it's own (something the third did far too well/badly; whichever way you wanna' look at it:P).

Ross Miller
Guest

I agree that it was best the first time because you didn't know the ending but I still like rewatching it because it's a clever little fil;m. And I love the grimy detail that went into it.

Btw Andrew which plot detail with the cops are you referring to?

rot
Guest

Just watched the original Funny Games and I am amazed at how similar the two films are… is that the same house?! Perhaps it has to do with reading subtitles and not being able to fully give my attention to the actors but I thought the US version was much more menacing… the tension of the eggs sequence is virtually non-existant in the first film whereas with Naomi Watts you really get the sense of how pissed she is.

Henrik
Guest

Scar is a great villain. The fact that he is killed by his slaves is not the only reason for this, but I think it's a worthy death for a villain in a theatrical drama. Obviously The Lion King is a kids fable, but there is menace in the performance of Scar.

How you gather that I hold the film in high regard because of his death I have no idea, but I guess it's the usual trolling from you. If you don't like The Lion King you are saying Shakespeare was an imbecile.

Jay C.
Guest

Here's a great quote from Steve Hyden's (The Onion) review of Funny Games that pretty much perfectly sums up how I feel about the film and this whole discussion. I got this via Jim Emmerson's blog:

Haneke thinks we’re all sick and depraved to seek out violent entertainment, and he uses his film like a golf club to bludgeon us for our sins. Only his bludgeoning felt good to me. I didn’t feel implicated; I felt moved, like I had just seen a virtuoso do something impressive, even if the virtuoso himself didn’t seem to understand exactly why it was impressive. […]

The implication of "Funny Games" is that violent pop culture points to a lack of morality in society, and I reject that idea, just as I reject it when it comes from right-wing politicians every four years. I just don’t think “enjoying” fake violence — which is stylized, cinematic, and, you know, fake — is in any way like enjoying real violence — which is clumsy, ugly, and, you know, real — unless you’re f–king nuts. […]

Henrik
Guest

I guess I am not making myself very clear, but that's what happens sometimes. I don't think enjoying hardcore pornography is wrong either, or that they have low morals, but if america was exporting 2-300 hardcore porn movies in cinemas everywhere, I would take a stand against that as well.

Jay C.
Guest

"but if america was exporting 2-300 hardcore porn movies in cinemas everywhere, I would take a stand against that as well."

America doesn't have to. Hardcore porn is everywhere. What's your point?

Henrik
Guest

I would have thought that one was clear enough, but my point is basically, that while film as a whole has been enundated with extreme amounts of violence compared to other artforms (if we exclude video games and comic books for now), american film in particular has so much violence that it bothers me. Because I don't particularly like violence, and I especially don't particularly like people who like violence.

Kurt
Guest

Where does the rape scene in Irreversible fall? It's certainly clumsy, ugly and well, probably realistic.

Henrik
Guest

I have not seen the film. All anybody ever talks about is the rape scene. I wouldn't mind seeing it I guess, but I am not going to just to figure out the significance of the rape scene. I haven't seen Shortbus either.

Jay C.
Guest

"Where does the rape scene in Irreversible fall? It’s certainly clumsy, ugly and well, probably realistic."

For me, a movie is a movie is a movie. No matter how realistically it's depicted, it's theatre. As far as the rape scene in Irreversible goes, the rest of the movie is so overtly stylish that it's hard to forget it's all a movie.

Take the fire extinguisher beating: Sure it looks real and it's clumsy, but that just made me applaud the behind-the-scenes technical achievment.

Kurt
Guest

Fair enough, I suppose everyone should have the ability to tell movies from reality and put it in context.

I think that Haneke would probably like Irreversible, as it certainly is not taking pleasure from its violence, the movie has a point, as do the moments of violence contained therein.

The movie is pretty raw within each of its segments though.

Jay C.
Guest

I'd go so far as to say that I feel there's no moral responsibility on the side of filmmakers to limit violence or how it's portrayed. It's up to the viewer to:

1. Not watch it if they don't like it.

and most imporantly

2. Grasp the idea of reality vs. theatrics, and acknowledge and understand the consequences, both morally and legally, behind real life violence.

Kurt
Guest

My faith in people is not as strong as yours Jay. Most human societies have been having trouble with #2 for a while now, all of history in fact 🙂

Henrik
Guest

I think that statements like Andrews on themovieclub podcast proves, that #2 is harder than it may seem.

Matt Gamble
Guest

America doesn’t have to. Hardcore porn is everywhere. What’s your point?

Henrik never has one. He just blindly rips on anything American then tries to parry when you call him on his bullshit. I mean Christ, he's claiming Funny Games isn't violent.

As an quick aside though Jay, what's your feelings on the films of say John Landis or Roman Polanski? Two men who have been involved in horrific violence off-screen, and neither faced any jail time for being involved. Do you think it is a viewer's responsibility to address #2 in those instances as well?

Henrik
Guest

"he’s claiming Funny Games isn’t violent."

"It’s still a suspenseful movie at times though, but I don’t think the comment would have worked if it hadn’t been, because it would have proved that you needed violence to make a violent and suspenseful film."

You're a fucking idiot.

Kurt
Guest

Guys, play nice.

Matt Gamble
Guest

There is hardly any violence in Funny Games US, and there doesn’t need to be. It’s a realistic portrayal.

4th wall breaks, rewinding the film, random kids going house to house killing everyone inside, children with their brains splattered on the wall. Yup, totally realistic and non-violent.

How about some other nuggets of wisdom from Henrik:

Mortal Kombat doesn’t have violence in it.

..it’s americans who need to see the film, since they are the worst infected part of the moviemaking world when it comes to the cancer-esque invasion of violence in the art of filmmaking.

The average american widely-released film contains shitloads of violence that doesn’t mean anything.

I just think that films contain way too much violence. Heck, in most cases (say 70-80%) it is the backbone of the situations and development of the story.

All of those statements are pure fabrications that you disengenuously try to pass off as actual fact. Your zealotry is so palpable its ridiculous. But yeah, I'm the troll. If that makes your bigotry go down easier, you go right ahead thinking that.

Henrik
Guest

It is a realistic portrayal of violence. Saying that there are children with their brains splattered on the wall is more than a gross exagerration of what is actually depicted in the film. It's a dead body, there is blood. Is it disturbing? Yes. Is it violent? No.

The Mortal Kombat thing is qualified in the next sentence. I will admit that the line taken out of context is questionable. I am in the wrong – Mortal Kombat does indeed have lots of violence in it.

I think that it's pretty obvious to anybody with a brain reading my thoughts on violence in american films, that it is completely originated by myself, and that they are conclusions based on personal experience.

"..it’s americans who need to see the film, since they are the worst infected part of the moviemaking world when it comes to the cancer-esque invasion of violence in the art of filmmaking."

I honestly think so. That I write it down on a message board doesn't mean I am claiming it to be fact. I'm sorry to attack your patriotic soul. I am not a bigot (are americans even a race? I thought being a bigot meant you had problems with a race). My zealotry as you call it, is focused on putting my honest views out in conversation, no matter who might have a problem with it. You may agree or disagree, but just picking out quotes out of context and putting them together to try and discredit an opinion is pretty fucking low.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Being that Funny Games is a film that is written, storyboarded, and massively editied, it is in no way shape or form a realistic portrayal of physical violence. Outside of Jay and his 10,000 hours of COPS watching I don't think any of us are qualified to claim we know what "realistic" violence is. The fact that neither you or Andrew can agree if the knee-capping and its after effects was a "realistic" portrayal proves this.

You seem dead set on perceiving violence as only occuring during choreographed fight sequences or using buckets of corn syrup. You dismiss cartoons or action films that "wink" at the audience. Yet you seem incapable of recognizing that violence exists in states besides physicality, and in that Funny Games is incredibly violent.

The entire point of the film is to attack the audience. It is manipulative, aggressive, and angry and it successfully puts audiences on the defensive. In short, it is as mentally abusive/violent as anything I have witnessed on screen.

And why do I keep reposting your bombastic statements? Because anytime someone corrects you on them, as John and Kurt both did concerning violence only existing in American films, you simply ignore the discussion and focus on the next grandiose conclusion that you come up with. You don't discuss, you merely spit out talking points in the hopes it will piss people off. Frankly, I get sick of listening to your rhetoric, as you are distracting from actual discussion. Of course I've been guilty of the same as well, which means I'm just as big of a fuck as you are. (How's that for nice Kurt? I'm building bridges I is!)

And your qualification of the Mortal Kombat line is weak. Your defense is that it is Looney Tunes violence, which it isn't, so it doesn't count. Except even if it was Looney Tunes violence it is still violent. Just because it is animated and no one gets hurt doesn't mean violence isn't involved. If you actually were truly anti-violence you'd be more upset by that style, as it depicts violence as being without serious consequences, and this result is something you have specifically pointed out in this thread as bothering you.

but just picking out quotes out of context and putting them together to try and discredit an opinion is pretty fucking low

But you get to cherry pick comments and then call me an idiot, right? 🙂

You want to have an actual discussion about violence in cinema, great. I'm totally down with trashing the MPAA for gladhanding violence in films while they flip out over the slightest bit of sexuality. I'd be happy to discuss the moral responsibility of the film-goer as it pertains to violence both in the film, and from the actions of the makers of the film. Heck, I'll be happy to back you that Scar is a pretty solid villain, but when you sit and condemn violence in films, and berrate people for liking violent films, then make up ridiculous excuses for why you like some of the violent films you do you only sound like Ted Haggard or any other garden variety hypocrite on the Net who only wants to piss people off and not engage in actual conversation.

Jay C.
Guest

Hey Matt,

Regarding the films of Landis and Polanski, I wouldn't say there's any stigma attatched to them for me. However, I do think Landis' segment in the Twilight Zone is a little eerie, (But still sort of a lame segment.) However, I don't think it's really anything other than an accident due to some irresponsible behaviour on the part of multiple people invovled.

It would be a totally different story of Landis purposely killed three people on film and Polanski decided he would make the ultimate boundary breaking remake of Lolita. That would probably be cause for concern and I may feel a tad guilty watching it.

Kurt
Guest

Well said Matt. And I completely agree that Haneke is capital-G guilty of 'mental violence' with Funny Games. For some reason that is one of the key reasons I like the film. The confrontational aspect with the audience. Like a parent who destroys a child with harsh words and criticisms, Haneke seems to be out to berate the audience with his manipulations. I don't know why I equate this to some sort of noble experiment, but I do.

Haneke seems to be aware of this on some level, as he has said that any audience that walks out of Funny Games probably does not need to see the movie, and any audience that stays does. How condescending is that?

🙂

Henrik
Guest

"It’s still a suspenseful movie at times though, but I don’t think the comment would have worked if it hadn’t been, because it would have proved that you needed violence to make a violent and suspenseful film."

"The entire point of the film is to attack the audience. It is manipulative, aggressive, and angry and it successfully puts audiences on the defensive. In short, it is as mentally abusive/violent as anything I have witnessed on screen."

We are in complete agreement.

It just comes down to me thinking movies are too violent. I want films to grow more interesting, more relevant and cinematic violence is rarely either. Funny Games US is an exception, but movies like it don't come around very often.

The Looney Tunes is animated. You'd have to be very, very sick to ever believe that anything that happened in it was real.

But yes, I will come off my high horse. I do like some violent films. I have grown up watching violent films as much as most of you guys have I imagine. None of my favourite films contain gratouitous violence, and I do wish that more films were made that resembled the ones that I think are the best. I guess that is pretty selfish and arrogant, but it is also honest.

"But you get to cherry pick comments and then call me an idiot, right?"

Don't see where I ever did that.

"Because anytime someone corrects you on them, as John and Kurt both did concerning violence only existing in American films, you simply ignore the discussion and focus on the next grandiose conclusion that you come up with."

You mean how you're now ignoring the fact that you called me a bigot, and said that nothing I say ever has a point, except bashing anything american?

I'd be happy to have a decent conversation as well, but you continue to make things personal and hateful.

Henrik
Guest

Argh! I guess I did 'cherrypick'. It's pretty different when you juxtapose 2 phrases in order to disprove one of them though.

Jay C.
Guest

“But you get to cherry pick comments and then call me an idiot, right?”

Don’t see where I ever did that.

HAHAHAH…classic.

Matt Gamble
Guest

It would be a totally different story of Landis purposely killed three people on film and Polanski decided he would make the ultimate boundary breaking remake of Lolita. That would probably be cause for concern and I may feel a tad guilty watching it.

For myself I know I give Landis leeway because I do believe it truly was an accident, though utterly preventable, and I don't think he, Spielburg, or anyone else involved had any malicious intent. While I think they should have served time in jail, at least they went to court and gave the at least the perception of facing their crimes.

But I have to admit I refuse to watch Polanski films because I do feel his acts were malicious and I have no intention of giving money to him to help him continue to evade the law. I've had discussion/arguments with friends over this, as for me personally I think I have a moral responsibility to not watch his films, but can understand why other people don't share my views.

I personally don't have a problem with violence in movies, though I do think some restraint should be used with younger viewers, but I'd like it if more time was spent discussing the indiscretions of filmmakers and the responsibility of us as consumers to make informed decisions on what type of content we watch. I think, at least in the US, people get so wrapped up in the MPAA rating that the don't pay attention to much of anything else, and I think that does film a disservice.

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