Let's all go to the movies~

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Mongrel
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Mongrel » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:42 pm

what the fuck
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby beatbandito » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:53 pm

no
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:02 pm

I mean I guess I'd rather see Sonic as Martin Riggs than either of the last two guys who played Martin Riggs.

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:27 pm

BlacKkKlansman is fucking intense.

You know how Spike Lee makes fucking brilliant films, and sometimes he makes not-so-brilliant films? This is one of the fucking brilliant ones.

Highly recommended, but...it's a rough one. It'll make you laugh and then it'll punch you in the gut. I wish it wasn't so timely.

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby TA » Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:04 pm

I have not heard positive things, from someone in a position to offer authoritative opinions on it.

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:51 pm

Those are all very good criticisms of the real Stallworth, of Lee's decision to market his fictionalized account as "based on real shit", and the broader context in which his depiction of the cops as heroes fighting white supremacy is suspect.

I appreciate your posting that to provide further context for people to decide whether this is a movie they want to support.

I think it's a fantastic work of fiction. I agree that Lee et al have been misleading in presenting it as anything other than that, and his NYPD funding for another project is, at best, not a good look.

I still think it's a great film (and "a great film can be deeply problematic" is a point it makes itself), and I think I'll have more to say about what parts stuck with me later.

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:10 pm

...you know, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the Birth of a Nation sequence was in there specifically as a statement of intent to make a work of fiction and call it history, in order to influence public opinion in service of a political agenda.

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:44 pm

Thad wrote:...you know, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the Birth of a Nation sequence was in there specifically as a statement of intent to make a work of fiction and call it history, in order to influence public opinion in service of a political agenda.

The problem there - as Boots rightly points out - is that it's not a very good political agenda.
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:09 pm

The messaging on the police and their relationship with the public is muddled at best.

The first act actually does a very good job: when Stallworth attends the Kwame Ture rally wearing a wire, he's clearly on the wrong side. Ture and the activists are clearly the good guys; Stallworth is the bad guy. And there's no greater-good rationalization; he's there even though he knows it's wrong, because he's trying to advance his career.

Then we get into the Klan plot, and Stallworth's infiltration of a black student movement is no longer central to the film; it's addressed a few more times but never in a satisfying way.

In particular, the ending is all over the place. Lee clearly knows how he wants to end the movie (with footage from Charlottesville) -- and as far as that goes, he sticks the landing. But the scenes leading up to it are a lot less satisfying. It feels like Lee doesn't know how he wants to end Stallworth's story -- should it be an unrealistic happy ending where everything works out to a truly implausible degree, or should it be a somber, pyrrhic victory? Lee swings wildly back and forth between the two, before finally settling on LOOK OVER THERE! DOLLY SHOT!

Where the film's messaging really excels is in its depiction of the evolution of white supremacist messaging over the years. Topher Grace is particularly eerie as David Duke.

The film deliberately contrasts Duke with another Klansman named Felix (Jasper Pääkkönen). Felix is more what you think of when you think of a Klansman: he's an ignorant, paranoid redneck with a basement full of military surplus equipment. He threatens, he waves a gun, and he plots a bombing.

Duke is something more sinister. Duke is the new, "respectable" face of the Klan. He smiles, he wears a suit, he's genteel. He's far more dangerous than Felix. Felix is scary in the way that guns and bombs are scary; Duke is scary in the way that ideas are scary.

Duke, of course, never realized his political ambitions, because as bad as things have gotten, "avowed member of the Klan" is still a deal-breaker for most voters. But he did achieve his ambition of making white supremacy more appealing to the mainstream. You hear his rhetoric in the highest echelons of power today.

What's heartening is that the movie came out right after Unite the Right 2 -- an embarrassing failure for the white supremacist movement. The alt-right hasn't been beaten, not by a longshot, but it seems like most of them are worried about showing their faces in public again. That's a start.

As for the craft of the film -- well, it's fantastic. Lee moves ably between comedy and suspense. I'd say more but I'm about out of time.

Riley's criticisms are valid. It's not a perfect film. But I still think it's an excellent one, and I still recommend it, warts and all.

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:13 pm

Taika Waititi is rumoured to be the choice to replace Gunn for Guardians 3.

That's a pretty good fallback. Waititi is the one director I think who could not just replace Gunn, but possibly do an even better job.
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby hngkong » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:55 pm

I'm seeing a lot of speculation that the recent "pre-production put on hold" for GotG3 was Disney's way of killing it without saying they are killing it. I mean, basically the whole principle cast said that they don't want to do it without Gunn, and Disney said there's no way they are going to rehire Gunn...

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:15 pm

I think they know that if they can't convince the cast, it's off. But there's a fuckton of money in it, so you better believe they're trying like hell to find a way to convince them.
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:28 am

Looking at it from Disney's perspective (and I'm not endorsing this point of view, but I guarantee there's a nonzero number of Disney execs thinking along these lines): the only one they need is Pratt. Rocket and Groot can be recast; everybody else can be written out. It would be ideal for everybody to return (this is, of course, assuming everybody's alive at the end of Avengers 4), but they can build a movie around Pratt and an otherwise-new cast. And Pratt's the one who seemed most lukewarm in defending Gunn.

Whether that's a good idea? No. Whether it would succeed? Who knows. But I guarantee you the thought's crossed a few executives' minds.

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Mongrel » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:37 am

For sure.

It's still a terrible idea. I think it would fail spectacularly even if it turned out to technically be a good movie from some objective point of view.

Also, Pratt was still was the first to speak up (IIRC) and his language has been mostly pretty unambiguous. It may be a case of his criticisms only looking lukewarm compared to his co-stars.

But in any case, they're sticking together. Pratt has a history that suggests he's a pretty decent human being, so no matter his exact level of support for Gunn, breaking that solidarity with his co-stars for a paycheque or to "see the story through" seems out of character for him.
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:42 am

My recollection is that Pratt's initial response was "I'll pray on it and decide what to say" and that Bautista was the one who came out swinging, followed by Saldana, and the rumor was that when they released their joint statement, Pratt was the one who held off on making it an ultimatum where everybody threatened to walk. But, y'know, rumors.

I don't see him continuing without his co-stars' blessing, no. But if they said "we're gonna walk but if you stay we won't hold it against you," that might be a different story.

Maybe. I mean, I don't know any of these guys or anything. I do know none of them are hurting for work or money.

(My pitch? Forget about Star-Lord's Guardians and do a movie centered around Major Victory's Guardians. Because "do the '60s version" is my solution to everything. You could bring back Stallone as Starhawk!)

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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Büge » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:48 pm

You don't even have to reach back that far. Phyla-Vell, Moondragon, Bug, Deathcry, Captain Universe... heck, Cosmo's a canon character in the MCU. They were all members (sort of) of the team at different points in the modern comics.
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Re: Let's all go to the movies~

Postby Thad » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:37 pm

The first half of A Simple Favor is great: Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively play two very different women who become close friends; Lively's character disappears, Kendrick starts searching for her, along the way there are some revelations that both women have secrets in their pasts, and weird shit starts to happen. Pretty standard roadmap for a thriller of this type, but well-executed, and the two leads do a fantastic job with the material.

But then Kendrick solves the mystery, and...it's dumb. Really, really dumb. Just the worst, hackiest cheat from the bottom of the Mystery Writer's Toolbox-o'-Cliches. The movie never really recovers; the twists and reversals that follow are just as hoary and predictable.

Kendrick and Lively (and director Paul Feig) do a good job of elevating the material; they're a lot of fun to watch, and the movie never drags even after the plot falls apart. But given how promising its start is, it's disappointing that it all falls apart at the end.

I've never read the book; a quick glance at Wikipedia shows it was a debut novel, and that explains a lot. Apparently the novel relies more heavily on unreliable narrators; the movie really doesn't. (There are a couple of bits where details are omitted and then revealed later, and a couple of bits where Lively says something happened and later someone else said it didn't, but the movie doesn't show much interest in keeping the audience guessing what really happened and what didn't; if you see it up onscreen, it happened.)

Also, Linda Cardellini's name appears a lot more prominently in the credits than you'd expect for someone who's in the movie for less than five minutes -- but come to think of it, aside from Kendrick, Lively, Henry Golding (who plays Lively's husband), and the child actors Joshua Satine and Ian Ho, nobody really gets more than five minutes of screen time in this movie, so I guess Cardellini's billing right after the principals makes as much sense as anybody else's would.

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