Cinecast Episode 89 – You Can Believe What You Want, But Don’t Believe it Here

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This Episode:

Unwrap the complete Show Notes…

Show notes for Cinecast Episode #89

  • Intro music: :00 – 4:34
  • Shoot the shit/Criterion/Blu-ray: :26 – 12:57
  • The Fall 12:58 – 26:54
  • Top 5 list: 26:55 – 56:35
  • Coming soon 56:35 – 1:26:18
    – – Long tangent on Wahlberg, Norton, Roth, M. Night, Fantasia Fest, Guy Maddin

  • DVD picks: 1:26:19 – 1:36:21
  • Closing: 1:26:24 – 1:37:42
  • Outro music: 1:35:40 – 1:38:58
  • ??? 1:38:58 – ???

Bumper Music by “MacGuyver” and “Sugar”


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LAST month:
The Ice Storm (IMDb)
C.R.A.Z.Y. (IMDb)

THIS month:
Short Cuts (IMDb)
I Heart Huckabees (IMDb)


The Fall

Andrew’s review


Top 5 Films (first half of 2008):

Andrew
5) Jellyfish (R3 review)
4) Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (R3 review)
3) Nanking (R3 review)
2) My Blueberry Nights (R3 review)
1) Doomsday (R3 review)

Andrew’s review for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

Kurt
5) Counterfeiters, The (R3 review)
4) Cloverfield (R3 review)
3) Funny Games (movie club podcast)
2) Redbelt (R3 review)
1) My Blueberry Nights (cinecast 86 review)

Kurt’s review for Yella


Coming soon discussion:

Mark Wahlberg (IMDb)
Mark Wahlberg

Edward Norton (IMDb)
Edward Norton

Tim Roth (IMDb)
Tim Roth

American Express Commercials:

M. Night

Wes Anderson

Kate Winslett

DeNiro


In the spirit of THE HAPPENING, A fantastically creepy suicide shot from Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (contained in the trailer @0:31)


DVD Picks for Tuesday, June 10th

Kurt:
The Signal
Kurt’s review

Andrew:
John Adams (HBO mini-series)


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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rot
Guest

just beginning to listen and something you mentioned about Blu-Ray got me to thinking… I saw a bit of the blu-ray Batman Begins at the local Best Buy and the high resolution really detracted from the film, everything is supposed to be dark and moody but now the batmobile in high-def looks like some ridiculously ordinary video of a car chase, the allure is gone.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Curiously though, HD shot films, then projected back at 35 or on DVD look fabulous (Collateral, My Blueberry Nights, Miami Vice, Zodiac, Climates)

Rusty James
Guest

So let me get this straight Kurt,

Cloverfield is on your list. But somehow you're unironically pulling THE EXACT SAME SHIT right over whatever movie it is about the Ninja Panda?

I have no idea what the ninja panda is. I've never heard of it and of course the idiotic tom jones song is the worst. But seriously, just say you dont' want to watch Ninja Panda and drop it. Don't just insist the film is terrible and then try to debate it, sight unseen. That's just fucking obnoxious.

The Happening is probably the must see movie of the summer. Will MNS save his career? Will his downward spiral of self involved pretention continue? I'm on the edge of my seat and there's no way I'm gonna sit out this debate.

Best of the year so far,

Bag Head

Inside

Paranoid Park

Wristcutters

Be Kind Rewind – for whatever reason the qualities of Gondry the resonate so deeply with me completely elude others.

Kurt refered to the ending as "unearned" and I couldn't disagree more. It all follows logically from the story and characters. It's about community and gentrification and imagination. And it ends at exactly the right moment.

Science of Sleep is similarly misunderstood.

I'm going to predict that Andrew will like the Hulk.

Rusty James
Guest

deakins shot The Village.

Marina Antunes
Admin

"The Happening is probably the must see movie of the summer. Will MNS save his career? Will his downward spiral of self involved pretention continue? I’m on the edge of my seat and there’s no way I’m gonna sit out this debate."

This is one of the big reasons I'm looking forward to seeing "The Happening". Haven't listened to the show yet so I'm not sure of Andrew's excitement level for "The Hulk" but I'm looking forward to it. We'll see if it manages to deliver.

rot
Guest

I have a very short best of list so far:

Funny Games

Blindness

Everything else has been pretty much shit.

that said I saw Paranoid Park last year, and it was great

swarez
Guest

Hulk has been getting very good reviews actually and now I look forward to see it. I had almost no interest before but now that people out there seem to really like it then I'm going to give it a shot.

The Happening opened yesterday over here and I kind of like to see it, just to see if M. Night fucks it up again with a third strike.

Henrik
Guest

I've liked Funny Games US, Parents, Kids and yes, THE HAPPENING. The negative reviews are pouring in – as usual one could say – but it's from the same group of idiots who praise Iron Man. I can't understand what the fuck these people are thinking, if they indeed are thinking, it would seem they don't want to.

rot
Guest

Happening got three stars in the local Toronto paper, and usually they are unrelenting. I have hope… I have to, its bleaker than a Bergman film out there.

Henrik
Guest

And if Kurt can't believe how they did that suicide shot, I wonder if he still thinks the actor who played the lawyer in Jurassic Park really did get eaten? Come on man, they replace actors with cgi more-or-less seamlessly so often in film.

swarez
Guest

What is so great about the shot in Pulse is the set up. It's not framed the way you would usually frame a shot like this because the character is unaware that the person is up on the tower. In fact the viewer is also unaware until you notice movement up on the tower and you see the person get up on the railing and fall off. It was such a WTF moment for me when I first saw it and I was constantly showing people this because it looked so good and unexpected.

leeny
Guest

My Top Five 2008 (1st half)

5. Funny Games

4. Son of Rambow

3. Doomsday

2. Postal

1. Raiders Adapation (I know its old, but was only ever screened here in 2008, and is available in no other format!)

rot
Guest

Regarding Tim Roth, I just watched him in Herzog's 'Invincible' for the first time a couple days ago and I have to say, maybe it was Herzog's direction of Roth, maybe it was the character but I found him ruining an otherwise enjoyable film. The guy who plays the central character, the strong man, was great… reminded me of a beefed up Bruno S.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@Rusty. I've already forgotten about that Panda movie that I"m not going to bother with.

I'm very, very curious to see BAGHEAD, at some point I'm going to dive in deep into the mumblecore stuff, but I've not been able to work up my enthusiasm. Then along came the Butler Brothers' Confusions of an Unmarried Couple and I'm piqued. Besides, the trailer for Baghead looks like a lot of fun.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@ Rot. I had no idea that INVINCIBLE was a Herzog film.

Rusty James
Guest

@kurt, as you well know, my point has nothing to do with whether you should see the movie or not.

John Allison
Editor

So I just went through Box Office Mojo and the following is what I have seen so far this year (only counting theatrical releases)

The Signal

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Bank Job

Doomsday

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!

Stop-Loss

My Blueberry Nights

In Bruges

Shine a Light

The Forbidden Kingdom

Iron Man

Redbelt

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Kung Fu Panda

Perhaps you can see why I don't want to do a top 5 list yet. I'd have to add one or two movies to the list that just don't deserve it.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@Rusty

I know, I know. My 'pre-judged' statements perhaps are there to clarify where I'm coming from in deciding to skip a film (a combo of reviews, trailers, and ugly cultural appropriation). And that then functions into my dislike of the marketing, which is a factor in deciding on whether or not I want to see the film. A Downward Spiral if you asked me.

John Allison
Editor

Things have somewhat changed for me now. My original plan was to only catch the Hulk since that is what my friends want to see. I've decided to take an hour off from work and I'm going to catch The Strangers, then The Happening, and finally Incredible Hulk on Friday.

Rusty James
Guest

@kurt,

yes, thank you for stating the obvious. We all know why you do it. We all decide to skip movies for which ever reason. You are just annoying about it.

rot
Guest

Its weird how much polarizing there has been on this site and elsewhere with respects to comic book movies on the one end, and shyamalan on the other… they are not obvious polarities, I think they both strive to be entertainment. I anticipate the next big thread to be a response to The Happening… its already in the air, can you feel it?

I agree with Andrew, M Night is batting something like .500 so its up to the film to make it happen for me. Kurt, you will hate parts of the Village, hate, but on the whole it really is a film to see.

rot
Guest

Ok you made me laugh Andrew, well at least we agree on this topic.

except I would go further and say the state of cinema this year is a stale saltine, and when something mediocre like say… oh… My Blueberry Nights comes along… its the best goddamn cracker ever! 😛

I agree about Batman Begins, I enjoyed it the first time but ever since it has been slowly depreciating for me…

This weekend will be a good contrast, Hulk or Happening?

Kurt
Guest

Come all you Nolan Batman lovers to the dark side. I was exhausted with Batman Begins before the end credits rolled. Mildly annoyed that it tied up so many good actors (and the director) who could be doing better, more interesting work. I predict that the Marketing campaign for The Dark Knight will be vastly superior to the final product.

I want more insanely dark shit like THE PRESTIGE, than a Joker reboot. (And that goes for you too Mr. Raimi, drop Peter Parker and pick up H.P. Lovecraft or Alistair Reynolds, or better yet, original scripts!)

Rusty James
Guest

I'm really looking forward to Dark Knight. The one trailer I saw had a really pulpy almost 70's feel to it. Heath looks great.

Actors do 3-4 movies a year so it's not tying anyone up.

I agree about directors (especially Raimi) and that's why I'm glad that Nolan did Prestige inbetween Batman movies. Instead of picking on Nolan you should be praising him for doing it right.

Rusty James
Guest

Ebert gives Happening 3 stars. Can't wait. Gonna see it today.

Kurt
Guest

2 Hours until THE HAPPENING for me.

Kurt
Guest

I love THE PRESTIGE, and it underscores why I don't want to see Nolan doing and endless string of sequels. Yes it is great that he is not ONLY doing Batman movies (See Raimi/Spidey) with his time, but oi, these huge productions are massively time consuming and exhausting, something Ang Lee pointed out again and again during the production of the HULK in 2003, thus limiting the budding of an auteur at the mercy of a by-committee franchise, Dark-and-Vigilante-or-no.

John Allison
Editor

Hey Kurt, are you off today or something? This is my first "real" movie day of the year. I with the movies were going to be better but I'm still going to have fun mainlining 3 movies in the theatre starting at 3:25 today.

John Allison
Editor

@Andrew – I didn't hate Other Boleyn Girl but it was really just pretty dry. I did not have much empathy for any of the characters and I didn't feel that they justified how Bana fell for Portman's character so quickly. I talked with Ginger and she said the book goes into more depth and is actually focussed on the Johannsen's character more… at least that is what I remember her telling me.

John Allison
Editor

A good way to justify Good actors doing big blockbuster fluff is that they will make lots of cash and then they can go back to doing good stuff.

Matt Gamble
Guest

The Village is M. Night's best film.

The Fall is this years best movie to date. (and only "great" movie")

Kurt's random hate is amusing, not annoying.

2008 is shaping up to be a year filled with a lot of solid films, just few truly great ones. Don't let 2007 spoil you.

rot
Guest

"The Village is M. Night’s best film"

yeah but… Mr Exposition?

Unbreakable is the solid choice.

I must be an ignorant hate tank because I do not find Kurt's hate annoying, he is not bitter enough.

John Allison
Editor

I really wish M. Night could have skipped the whole twist bit in The Village. I really love the first part of the movie but it just falls apart in the end for me.

I agree with Matt and Rot, Kurt's hate both interests me and amuses me. 😉 I can fully understand not wanting to waste time on bad movies. It makes perfect sense to be watching better stuff than some of the really bad shit but I do believe that for every 10 bad movies I watch I will find 1 of them to be more than worthwhile. Kung Fu Panda is one of those. I had pretty much given up on Dreamworks Animation after Shrek 3 and the Ice Age movies.

Rusty James
Guest

Fine, I guess I'm out numbered. Kurt's uninformed comments make him a beautiful and unique snow flake.

@"I can fully understand not wanting to waste time on bad movies."

It's like talking to a rock.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Having not seen THE VILLAGE or THE HAPPENING, Unbreakable is so far ahead of the pack for me as well. That film is the comic book movie I usually hope for but almost never get.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@John. Summer hours at work, means Friday Matinees for me!

John Allison
Editor

Speaking of comic book movies I'm actually starting to be interested in Hancock simply because it looks at least like a bit of an original story. I doubt it will be truly good but I am interested which is the opposite for me and the Hulk.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Also @John: The Ice Age Franchise is Blue Sky not DW.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@Rusty: Fine, I guess I’m out numbered. Kurt’s uninformed comments make him a beautiful and unique snow flake

Or as fallible as the next fellow. I'm as biased and contradictory as the next fellow. (And I put it out in public (er. well. the internets) like a good masochist….)

rot
Guest

"[Unbreakable]is the comic book movie I usually hope for but almost never get."

Maybe that is where the polarity between M Night and comic fanboys derives. I would agree also, but its not something you can repeat that often.

Goon
Guest

A SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

I've fallen behind a number of episodes lately. I have to be honest that I've noticed this in my head for a little while now, I don't know how long its really been there, or if its a new development. Point is since i've noticed, its bothered me and made it harder and harder to listen to the Cinecast.

I was out for a walk and listening to Episode 87 (the Indy 4 episode) – at a certain point it was so distracting I told myself I would finish the ep at home and mark down stats.

Kurt seems to talk more and more and more, and Andrew seems to talk less and less and less. Basically, I honestly have to say the show is becoming less like a discussion for me and more like a soapbox. I charted the speaking times for each person starting from the 70 minute mark of episode 87. I did not include attempted interruptions or two second outbursts such as "Hmmm" or "I never saw that" or "good point", etc.

The final results:

Episode 87 from 70 minute mark to end:

TOTAL TIME 3080 seconds = approx 51.3 minutes

KURT time: 2545 seconds = approx 42.4 minutes = 83%

ANDREW time: 525 seconds = approx 8.9 minutes = 17%

Longest Kurt uninterrupted: 6 minutes 25 seconds

Longest Andrew uninterrupted: 1 minute 25 seconds

2nd Longest Kurt uninterrupted: 4 minutes and 15 seconds (twice)

2nd Longest Andrew uinterrupted: 55 seconds (this was while making the final comments "well thats about it for this episode", etc)

I hate to have to point it out this way, and dont know if its going to continue into the other eps I havent listened to, but I had to make the critique and spell it out. I think you guys have gotten so comfortable with each other that you don't think about whose turn it is or what may be better for us to listen to. I kind of want to hear more discussion or argument and less ranting.

Henrik
Guest

Talk about an exposé.

I usually skip around on the episodes (completely ignoring the ones based around reviews of films I haven't seen) to listen to whatever segments sounds interesting. I haven't had problems with the amount of speaking time, only the ignorance of the hosts! I'm only joking.

Kurt
Guest

An interesting observation Goon. My wife would say the same thing. I talk a lot. I think Episode 89 (current) is a heck of a lot more balanced if you parse times (which I've not). I think it happens to be the subject matter that varies from show to show, and that for some reason, Andrew just lets me Rant on certain things.

Of course, Andrew also does most of the print reviews around here, so maybe he doesn't want to repeat his thoughts so much.

Really though we don't think about it. We simply sit down for a conversation with the cinecasts, have a few vague ideas what we are going to talk about with a DVD pick and occasionally do a top 5 beforehand. Everything flows naturally from there. I simply think I'm more of a loudmouth. Curiously in groups and large social what not, I'm often the least spoken, so add that to the pop psyche 101…

Your feedback is appreciated though, I don't think either of us would have noticed this (as odd as that sounds).

Goon
Guest

"Andrew just lets me Rant on certain things."

One of the things I noticed when I started writing down times, etc, is that while you both attempt to interrupt each other to make points, when Andrew does it he mostly stops himself and lets you keep talking, and when you start interrupting you just keep going.

Kurt
Guest

Just got back from THE HAPPENING.

It's a loopy nutbar of a film with a tedious soundtrack and a 1-of-a-kind-baffling-performance from Mark Wahlberg.

Think War of the Worlds (Spielberg version) meets The Mist (Darabont) with just enough of "THE CORE" thrown in for good measure.

I think (consciously or not) that Shyamalan was experimenting really, really hard with new or odd ways to deliver exposition, most of them are failures (particularly the two uses of cellular phones of passing strangers) but it adds a further loopy tone to the film.

Maybe I'm compensating for my dislike (and oh so faint grudging respect for) Lady in the Water, but I did dig on The Happening, warts and all. It's like a throwback 1950s paranoid B-Sci Fi flick without any subtextual grist and oh-so-earnest nature and relationship platitudes. Somehow I that kind of cornball goofiness (along with the WTF Wahlberg) grew on me by the end of the movie….

Should be a fun Episode #90 next week.

Oh, and anyone who compares Shyamalan to Hitchcock is going to get a slap in the face from me. More like early era Don Seigel mind with a Spielbergian eye and an Irwin Allen Brain. Definitely Not Hitchcock although maybe it is high time to rewatch THE BIRDS.

Kurt
Guest

One of the things I noticed when I started writing down times, etc, is that while you both attempt to interrupt each other to make points, when Andrew does it he mostly stops himself and lets you keep talking, and when you start interrupting you just keep going.

I think Andrew is just a little 'cooler' than I am. Part of me tries to stop, but is rarely successful.

I'm working on that. Honest.

Henrik
Guest

Yes I use them. Much appreciated.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Unfair, Kurt has kids. That drastically reduces his cool quotient. He has to instill, like, values and stuff.

John Allison
Editor

@Andrew – I find it funny that you are hopping into Hulk while I'm hopping into Happening. Of course I'm paying for Strangers, then a hop, then some food, then meet up with friends for Hulk.

Kurt
Guest

*GASP* I didn't stay till the end of the credits for HAPPENING, but the usual 'credit cookie' is given before the credits start rolling.

Henrik
Guest

I stayed untill the end of the credits and didn't see anything.

Goon
Guest

so Kurt, would happening make a good shot at the drive-in where I can comment at it as it plays?

Henrik
Guest

It would probably be horrible in the drive-in, as most non-comedic movies tend to be. The drive-in really only shines if you don't give a shit about the film(s).

rot
Guest

You will have to chew on Shyamalan's B-Movie defense in your next podcast. I just got back from it and on the whole, it mildly entertained, I was interested in what was going to happen next, and even Henrik has to admit it is no masterpiece.

Regarding the B-Movie defense I got a Carnival of Souls vibe from the film at times, I do not know exactly why, maybe it was the stilted feeling to it, which had to do a lot with the acting and the dialogue.

Kurt, the Village is much better.

rot
Guest

I have to say though, I watched The Happening in a half empty theater with a younger crowd, and the response seemed pretty favorable, so much some people actually applauded when it was over. Nobody laughed at the cheese factor, and people laughed at the jokes that felt a bit flat to me.

I would also add I think the 'R' factor felt tagged on, like easy edits to remove if a decision was made to do so… if anything it needed to be darker… and the Spielbergian flourishes with love and family need to tone the fuck down!

Henrik
Guest

My review of The Happening as written on Thursday, translated from danish:

The Happening.

After two amazing but generally misunderstood films M Night Shyamalan returns with The Happening. A title which has to be a candidate for the vaguest ever. As usual it has been nearly impossible to figure out what in the world the film is about beforehand, and that is just one of the reasons that Shyamalan with The Happening, again delivers a cinema experience like no other.

The Happening has a (for Shyamalan) brand new cast starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo, and (I’m sure to many peoples delight) no appearance by Shyamalan himself. Mark Wahlbergs performance in The Happening is incredibly difficult to get a hold of. His diction is among the strangest I can remember hearing a grown man speak, it is almost like when a finnish man questioningly tries his luck in English, and it can get annoying at times, but you can’t help but wonder why somebody would speak like that. It does make him alittle more interesting I think.

Zooey Deschanel in front of a camera is close to being the best idea since somebody came up with wrapping a sausage in bacon. She has a fantastic face, it can sometimes be distracting to the plot to have her in a close-up, and even though her acting gets alittle too cute at times, she carries it. She’s a coming star, who we’ll hopefully get to see a lot more of.

In his latest films Shyamalan has more or less attempted consciously to alienate the audience, and created plot threads, characters and entire universes so peculiar, special and seemingly disjointed that most people check out at the halfway point. The Happening is not as extreme as his latest two films, but it does contain elements which can be hard to swallow for a sceptic audience. But that is their loss. The only difference between The Happening and countless other Hollywood-movies with far out concepts, is that Shyamalan does not attempt to apologize for his ideas, and doesn’t try to shape an entire reality based around getting one little concept to work.

But The Happening is in no way inaccesible. This is Shyamalan in entertainmentmode, and he serves delicious set pieces with a flair and an elegance worthy of Steven Spielberg. The enormous difference is that Shyamalan in The Happening is cold, cynical, vicious and unforgiving. There is no dear mom in Shyamalans universe, there is no salvation, and that is wonderful! For once it actually hurts to watch an entertainmentfilm from Hollywood, and there are still some of us who appreciate that.

One of the most amazing things about Shyamalan is that he like no other living director can create uneasyness on the screen. His mood-driven tension is like a dial he can turn up or down anytime he wants. Horrorfilms usually don’t affect me, I’m not scared, they fall on their face. Shyamalan, with very simple methods, brings me completely into the mood – it’s pretty fucking scary man.

The Happening is an entertainmentfilm with an auteurflair that’s lacking in Hollywood. Even though Shyamalan in a way has gone back to the well to regain goodwill both among audiences and in the industry, he hasn’t forgotten himself. When you add to that craftsmanship on the level of a Stanley Kubrick, you’ve got a cinema experience which nobody should cheat themselves out of. The Happening is possibly this summers best American film!

rot
Guest

I knew it 🙂

rot
Guest

You have to acknowledge that every Shyamalan film has been characteristically stilted… and this is probably due to the fact that everything is storyboarded ad nauseam. You tend to watch a series of storyboards and while the story he tells tends to be interesting and his directorial choices tend to be interesting, there is always this stilted artifice to his films. But for the most part I don't care because at least an actual story is being told, I am not left checking boxes of formulas that present themselves over and over again (and had a lot of best bits not been in the trailer this could have been an even stronger experience).

I think M Night is a talented storyteller, but he gets hung up sometimes in the execution and his discretion is sometimes marred by his inability to collaborate, to get beyond his stubborn visions, that for the most part, are flawed works.

Generally I agree with you Henrik, just not as enthusiastically.

I see how people could rip on Wahlberg and Zooey in this film, but I sort of liked them in spite of it… I did not like all the dialogue Night wrote for them, but I liked the general idea of them… they were people I could care about.

rot
Guest

all that said he did repeat himself some in this film, several shots were taken right out of Signs.

Henrik
Guest

Yeah Shyamalan is stilted. Aren't you currently in a state of gushing of La Passion De Jeanne D'Arc?

I prefer the word 'directed'.

As for repetition, that's what auteurs do. You either get tired of it or enjoy it. So many people are sick of Ingmar Bergman after 2 or 3 films, or in more modern times, Tim Burton suffers from it, or George Lucas. The only people who stay popular are the competent chameleons like Steven Spielberg.

Rusty James
Guest

Henrik and Kurt thanks for posting your thoughts, Henrik I'm especially interested in your opinions on Shyamalan. He really hits a chord with you reasons I'm trying to understand.

Hopefully I'll post my thoughts indepth later today. But for now I really liked a lot of elements of the film. There were some real nail bitting moments.

Parts of your reviews read like charity case. I think we can all agree there bizarre choices made in the film (the odd performances are not confined to Wahlberg) and I was a little more critical of them.

rot
Guest

Henrik, may God strike you down for associating Jeanne D'Arc to the Happening. 🙂

and to answer your suggestion, there was nothing stilted about Jeanne D'Arc, because every frame was alive with expression, there was no time to feel stilted.

Henrik
Guest

"there was no time to feel stilted."

If what we're talking about are your feelings, then any sort of argument pretty much ends there.

Dreyer has been critisized throughout the 20th century for being stilted.

rot
Guest

I can see it of Dreyer's other films, from what clips i have seen, but stilted means things stop and start, there is a beautiful image maybe but it feels like it exists inharmonious with what came before and after… its not about emotion so much as the flow of activity. Jeanne D'Arc editing keeps a perfect flow going, and because there is very little dialogue you are concentrating on getting the drama through the interactions, action/reaction shots continuing back and forth and you can barely catch up because you are reading so much into the faces, to me it is the opposite of stilted.

Shyamalan's films tend to feel like a bunch of cool ideas clumsily held together to fulfill the story arc. it feels labored, but thats fine too… I don't actually mind it so much with his films, its just I notice it a lot.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I've never felt like any of M Night's films were stilted. He's never been strong at dialogue, and he tends to minimize it as much as he can in his films. But he creates very "lived in" environments for his films, and that goes a long way towards compensating in characterization that his dialogue would otherwise hurt.

The only people who stay popular are the competent chameleons like Steven Spielberg.

While I tend to agree with you on this Henrik, I'd say Haneke and Cronenburg are two fairly known and popular auteurs that people seem to have not gotten sick of. Cronenberg especially.

Henrik
Guest

Well Haneke I don't think fits in this discussion, he's nowhere near well-known enough.

Cronenberg has become more high-profile as of late, but his 'auteur' splatter films I'm sure plenty of people would get tired of rather quickly. The two new ones alot of people are impressed with because it seems like a new direction.

I think Unbreakable and Signs have strong dialogue, and The Village has a very poetic language that seems staged beyond belief, but works extremely well for me. I think he has strong dialogue, except in The 6th Sense where there is plenty of nonsense-filled dialogue between the kid and the therapist like: "I can't help you" – "Do you believe me?" – "No" – "How can you help me if you don't believe me?" (entire audience going 'read above').

rot
Guest

wow just watched The Village again, and can now totally see the Deakins cinematography in it, and it was more gorgeous then I remembered. I guess it would have been overkill but I wonder what sort of film The Happening would have been had Joaquin Pheonix took the Wahlberg role… he is solid in the two outtings he has done with Shyamalan.

Would you not at least concede Henrik that The Happening is one of his weaker works?

Henrik
Guest

Yeah I think Joaquin Phoenix has done his best work with Shyamalan, as has Bruce Willis (awful actor) and Mel Gibson (pretty good actor) and Samuel L Jackson (pretty amazing at times).

I would find it hard to rank the films. The Happening might be the weakest since The 6th Sense (which I don't like at all), but it's close. It's all about what mood I'm in I think. I think Signs is the strongest, definitely the strongest narratively, but all of them are great. Compared to wide-release american movies, it's pretty astounding work.

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

Chiming in to say I use the time tracks and I really appreciate them being there.

And Andrew, I hope you are feeling better!

stump
Guest

Just to let you all know, I've decided I'm going to protest seeing The Happening. When that other abomination was released two years ago I read the horrible reviews but still went to see it, thinking how Shyamalan is still compelling and interesting even when he's not "on". But then that shit happened. And I feel like I was personally shat upon. And I'm seeing these reviews now, and it's a familiar feeling. Shyamalan seems like he's possibly the most contemptible filmmaker alive right now, worse than a total hack like Boll, or a big-budget no-brain success like Bay, or a combination of those, like Emmerich. So I'm not even going to play the game.

rot
Guest

I can understand your protest stump, Lady in the Water was almost unforgivable. The Happening is not quite the film he needed to rebound from that.

But at least when he fails he fails trying something new… I don't think Boll and Bay can be said to do the same.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Matt's #36 is brilliant and how I feel about the year so far. Except I have yet to see "The Fall". Damend it. If I had to pick one favourite for the year so far, I'd have to go with "Silent Light" and that might be cheating since it's an 07 film. As was "Planet B-Boy". Hmmm….this is too hard for 9AM on a Saturday.

In regards to people not getting tired of Cronenberg…I think it's because his film making has changed. He still seems concerned with the "body" but he's become more sophisticated about it. Gone are people sucked into TVs, exploding heads and men turning to flies and in their place we have tattoos, subtle facial disfigurement and ugly but believable deaths.

As for thoughts on "The Happening"….I'm still digesting but it's safe to say it's in the top 5 of best of the year so far. I *really* enjoyed it.

rot
Guest

I could safely say The Happening is in my top five of the year as well, but that isn't saying much.

Rusty James
Guest

@"But at least when he fails he fails trying something new…"

Actually one of my biggest complaints of The Happening is that it's just the same old tricks from Shyamalan.

Using color codes, green = evil. The iphone moment plays like a talentless hack ripping off a much better scene from Signs. There are some effective scares but just as often there are these WTF moments of utter piss (as the Chud writers say). "We can't just be disinterested spectators!"

Obviously with the acting Shyamalan was going for something very specific stylistically but I just don't think the actors got it.

Henrik
Guest

"The iphone moment plays like a talentless hack ripping off a much better scene from Signs."

The context is completely different. The Happening is pure entertainment, it's meant as spectacle much more so than gutpunching tension. I mean compare what's on the iPhone to the scene in Signs – one is ridiculously over-the-top and one is the opposite.

The effective scares in The Happening worked better for me than any horror movie I can remember seeing in years. Though I didn't see The Descent (the story sounds completely uninteresting). I'd rather have the trade off of awesome/bad (hard-to-believe-it's-actually-happening-on-screen is a better description of some of Shyamalans ideas I think) than I'd have the bland/bland of the rest of hollywood. The scene with the gun alone puts The Happening leagues above something like Iron Man.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "The context is completely different. The Happening is pure entertainment"

I just don't get it. Happening is pure entertainment as opposed to Signs? What is the objective of Signs then? Both films seem pretty similar in genre to me.

So when Shyamalan was directing this scene he was thinking to himself "now for some empty spectacle. definitely don't make it suspenseful. nothing ruins spectacle like suspense". Wouldn't the scene be better if it weren't visually ridiculous? Was I supposed to have burst out laughing?

I also think this is Shyamalan's sloppiest directing (except for those two movies that people only mention to say they haven't seen them). There's one scene on the old lady's porch where she startles him by popping into frame. She was blocked by him… he couldn't see her because he was standing in the way… of himself.

I get that's not the type of thing that's going to bother everyone. Maybe it's even nitpicking, that's fine. I'm not saying the film is bad because of that scene. But the blocking here is visually nonsensical and I don't see how anyone could defend it. It's an example of Shyamalan's sloppiness that plagues this film.

Henrik
Guest

I don't know what scene you're talking about.

"Wouldn’t the scene be better if it weren’t visually ridiculous?"

No, because it looked awesome. You were supposed to have fun with the over-the-top violence, not sit there actually scared that this might happen to you. It's a great contrast to all the more subtle and realistic stuff, like the gun, or the opening etc. It just shows it's an extreme thing happening.

Signs is more about the characters than the spectacle. The Happening is not. The Happening has typical movie characters, with typical movie solutions to typical movie problems. It's all about reeling the masses in with visual thrills to get scared and have a good time at the movies. Signs is different, using genre conventions brilliantly to tell a more intimate story about a man and where he feels his authority comes from.

Rusty James
Guest

I was talking about the cellphone scene.

Henrik
Guest

I don't know what scene you were referring to on the porch. I knew the iPhone scene, it reminded me of Signs as well.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "I don’t know what scene you were referring to on the porch."

yer eyin' my lemonade.

Henrik
Guest

I can't remember being startled at that. The one scene that was insanely memorable for me was when they were about to go to bed. I will be honest, had I not been enjoying the idea of feeling how I felt so much, I would have looked away because I was scared, like I did years before when I saw Signs for the first time. It reminded me of a perfectly updated Nosferatu. I was releaved when it was morning, but also sad that he didn't push me further.

rot
Guest

Regarding auteurs repeating themselves being a justification for Shyamalan's overuse of certain techniques… I just don't buy it… you can keep doing similar things but I am talking about exact same shots… he has done the sound on the other side of wall camera pan in THREE different films, Signs, Village and now this with the old lady smacking her head through the window. Its effective but I want him to try new things rather than keep coming back to the same technique. And no matter how much you want to distinguish the cellphone scene Henrik, it is the same idea as in Signs, same function.

Henrik
Guest

It's two different set pieces. If you want to say the general idea of The Happening is the same idea as in Signs, you would have a point. But again, I would refer back to the fact that the films are totally different, one is a tightly-knit suspenseful family drama, and one is a cataclysmic-event blockbuster, and each treats its subject matter accordingly, however similar it may seem on the surface.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Wouldn’t the scene be better if it weren’t visually ridiculous? Was I supposed to have burst out laughing?

It might be better, but that isn't the style he was going for. It is supposed to be funny though.

The Happening is the same animal as Doomsday, only M. Night isn't making a film for fans of 70's and 80's genre mash-ups, he's making a film for fans of 50's science fiction films. It's hokey, oddly shot, and actors are purposely acting by themselves so they seem stiff in their delivery. The entire film is an experiment, and one I enjoyed quite a bit.

Rusty James
Guest

@ "It might be better, but that isn’t the style he was going for."

Mad lolz.

Good
Guest

Just wanted to say this was a pretty great episode. Despite having not much to discuss, it was great simply because Andrew was keeping up with Kurt in talking time and had relevant things to say, even leading when discussing the Fall and some other topics. I dont know if its the lack of drinking Andrew, or your fears of appendixitis that drove you more here, but this is what I'd been missing, hit the spot.

Nitpicks and comments at all:

quote from Andrew from this episode; "I hate comic book movies" – there you have it 😛 – I mean, your rundown of what you expected from the Hulk movie is pretty much dead on, however really I think I can make the same rundown to describe most vampire/zombie movies, including many you guys think have reinvented things. Im thinking again its a matter of taste, but also some of the ol' blockbuster cycnism and a bit of snobbery. The comic book films make the money and the precious vampire/zombie flicks go unappreciated, in my opinion making comic book films overly nitpicked and many excuses made for the latter's shortcomings, of which I think there are usually many.

Finally, Dark Water is a godawful shit movie. I couldn't even finish it. Literally. I was suffering through it hoping it would end, and then the rental copy I had skipped its way to death where I had to eject it and gladfully return it for another movie. Even my DVD player knew better than Kurt does on this one 😛

Kurt
Guest

Thanks for the criticism. We were aiming for another shoot-the-shit episode this week, but Andrew took of for a big outdoor music festival. And I'm up in the country on dial-up.

We should do more 'shoot-the-shit' episodes.

I enjoy the pacing of Dark Water, it should have been sold as a drama instead of a J-Horror remake (which of course it was, but Salles injected a different flavour and tone to it than Hideo Nakata.

Andrew loves his vampire flicks more than I do. That being said, its a pretty flexible sub-genre, which can and often does, go just about anywhere.

Good
Guest

I'll give that vampire movies can go more places than zombie movies. that said I can't say there's any single vampire film out there I hold in particularly high esteem.

Kurt
Guest

Obviously a matter of personal taste, but:

Nosferatu (both 1927, 1979)

Vampyr (C.T. Dreyer)

Near Dark

Martin (speaking of Romero…)

and the very recent swedish tale, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is pretty upscale moviemaking, defying most of the expectations of the genre.

Henrik
Guest

Nosferatu rules, and I don't even like horror movies. Beautiful. Don't buy the newest german DVD release of it (called something like master of horror classic or something like that), because the music is dreadful, and actually works against the film by making it less scary.

Ross Miller
Guest

Agree with you, Henrik. Am not at all a horror fan (although there are a number of them I love to death) but you're right Nosferatu is awesome. It was my first viewing of a silent film and it's inspired me to seek out things like Sunrise and Metropolis (just waiting for them to be sent from my rental queue). Still creepy even 80-odd years on – that famous creeping up the stairs is still spine tingling.

Henrik
Guest

Btw. Kurt did you finally start watching Dreyer films?

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