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Triumph of meanness
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  • Analyzing films, industry norms and market trends is useful to filmmakers. There are many filmmakers at PV.

  • $10 !!!!!!!!!!? I would never see a film if I had to pay $10 ! A dollar for the 2 for the bluray ! Of course, what's really boring are uncritical viewers ! There used to be a whole discipline called film criticism . There were even magazines devoted to it. Those were the dayz ! Now we're apparently only interested in the toys.

  • because I see a crisis in narrative films in general. They simply have nothing more to offer. No more new stories. No more new characters.

    That's largely true of mass-market commercial cinema, but consider the "culture" of screenwriting, with all the "plot point", "character arc" and "three-act structure" nonsense. How many original screenplays have the density, conviction and narrative "bones" of film adaptations of novels (e.g., everything from Dracula and Double Indemnity to The Conformist, Satantango, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Stalker, The Third Man, 2001, Vertigo, etc.) or material based on "real life" (Citizen Kane, Goodfellas; Raging Bull; Donnie Brasco)?

    When you have "screenwriters", many of whom aren't really writers, creating material for the approval of MBAs and the marketing department, it's no wonder the medium feels exhausted.

    And in countries, like the U.S., without public film funding, the so-called "independent" scene will be just as bankrupt, because no matter how cheap the equipment gets, filmmaking remains expensive and revolves more around fund-raising and managerial effectiveness than conceiving and writing.....

  • @brianl

    ...couldn't agree more...since I get to see snippets of all these dumb special effects movies due to having kids ! But I'd go even further, because I see a crisis in narrative films in general. They simply have nothing more to offer. No more new stories. No more new characters. That's why, personally, I'm more interested in docs, or more experimental cinema. BTW, I thought Bruce Willis's character in Pulp Fiction was the go-to sympathetic character, although in general you are right. The genius of the film, besides it's non-linear storytelling, was the dialogue that allowed the viewer to identify with tasteless people.

    ....obviously there are some supreme exceptions.....El Labyrinto del Fauno for example.

  • Raise your hand if you didn't appreciate Pulp Fiction

    Get my hand. Absolutely do not like Pulp Fiction and most of Tarantino films.

  • That's a subjective matter that you're entitled to either way.

    It was copy from IMDB film description :-) Not my words. :-)

    Either way, I do not like this film.

  • There is a lot to be said for looking beyond the American tradition, to go back to VK's original rejoinder.

    For brief periods, national cinemas do seem capable of accessing more vital human material, though that window doesn't remain open for very long. I'm thinking of underground Chinese cinema -- films like "The Orphan of Anyang" or "Seafood" ("Haixian"), made for minimal money, which do seem to access a truer human response from the viewer, not based on phony heroism, identifying with the characters in self-glorifying ways, etc. And of course there's Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep", to return home. It's rare, but it happens, and always outside commercial traditions.

    Once it gets institutionalized or monetarized, it's finished. But of course you can't continue to make movies without bringing those institutions to bear. Just look at the sad career of Martin Scorsese.....

  • I just have different view. Or as you say - I do not get it.

    Your one line assessment of the film or more specifically who the film is about isn't about whether or not you like the film. That's a subjective matter that you're entitled to either way. As a one-line summation it's objectively incorrect for by your logic I could sum up Spike Lee's Malcolm X as so:

    Malcolm Little, petty criminal, zoot suit enthusiast and white woman lover bungles his way into a jail cell

    ...and then, yeah, not interested. Oh, or how about this for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:

    Nelson Mandela, terrorist, goes to jail.

  • And you obviously have a problem following a thread. In an effort to be the intellectual contrarian you just sent me a link explaining the point I was trying to make to Vitaliy. Congratulations.

  • @BurnetRhoades

    You obviously haven't watched the film. Quoting that as a summation of what the film is about or what his character becomes means you haven't seen it or you didn't get it.

    I've watched it twice. The "for your consideration' dvd has been out for months, and then I bought the bluray clone..supporting those criminal copyright pirates. I'd say...maybe you didn't get it. It's called "character growth"

    ..or development

  • As I mentioned in another post....Nebraska takes the cake for the narrative film with absolutely no sympathetic characters in the whole film. Sadly it is the film that is more accurate about the society from which it comes. Meanness pervades ! I'd guess the son buying his dad a used pickup and an air compressor was supposed to compensate for real human tenderness !

    And i'd agree with Vitaliy about Dallas Buyers Club. Who among us can say we're perfect ? But who among us achieves that level of growth during their short span of time on this earth ? Few I'm certain !

  • Also to this shit you can freely add

  • @babypanda first two I don't know, but Man on Wire's Philippe Petit is certainly not a hero. I LOVED that doc 'cause other than brilliantly dissecting an unbelievable experience also exposes how some dreams have a very high human cost... did you not saw his "friends" truly moved and crying of emotion while recognizing their crazy achievement, BUT at the same time completely reassured they wouldn't do it again and their relations "burnt" with Petit? And yet there is a beauty to it =)

    A paradigm of heroes gone bad - 'cause historic, social and environmental conditions - is Dersu Uzala's modern style Kekexili aka Mountain Patrol

  • What about documentaries ie real-life heroes? Buck, Garbage Warrior, Man on Wire...

  • For recent films, I liked Drive. For old school film lovers, make sure to watch Straight Time (1978 - available on Netflix and for free on YouTube in different parts). The movie just kills. Yes it stars Dustin Hoffman, but I assure you, this is not Hoffman from 80's/90's...this is raw dog stuff. This is why Hoffman is great in my book.

    @maxr Thanks for the list - will have to watch some of these. Pusher 1 & 3 rock...Refn just killed here.

  • Heroes gone bad, some recent big budj flicks came to mind:

    • France - A prophet / jail "education" (a must see)
    • France | Canada - Mesrine I & II / french scarface (Vincent Cassel shines)
    • Argentina - Carancho / making money out of traffic accidents (very interesting and intricate thriller, plus has Darin)
    • Argentina | Spain | France - El Aura
    • Philippines - On the Job / assassins which not free (about using prisoners as killers)
    • USA - The Counselor / Drugs world (very strange film, the dialogs are pretty interesting though, mix of senile and genius)
    • USA - Rampart / crooked cop (Harrelson!!)
    • Netherlands | Belgium - Borgman (this is about a true hero :P)
    • UK - Ill Manors / London's suburbs lumpen (add wonderful OST)
    • Denmark - Pusher trilogy (the deep shit)
    • UK - Trainspotting / hero-in
  • @jrd

    May be it is good time to check France, Korean, Indian and Japanese movies. At least they have more human stuff going and real problems shown.

  • And Tony Soprano, among others. Traditional heroism isn't possible when people no longer believe in the intrinsic value and nobility of inherited status (like monarchy). Same with tragedy. It was the movies which created working-class heroes, but they're no longer plausible either.

    The best we can do these days are people who defy societal norms, which usually means criminals. Since everyone recognizes that the official order is also criminal, and that only the powerless obey the law, being a murderer and thief doesn't disqualify anyone.

  • You can find the same nonsense in medieval epics and Old English and Norse sagas. Or go back to very beginning: Gilgamesh.

    You can find any nonsense, but at least heroes must have some heroes qualities, at least they must have some value.

  • Well, hell. I've seen two of the three, and humanity wouldn't be any poorer if they both disappeared without trace, but the story-telling conventions are nothing new or particularly depraved. You can find the same nonsense in medieval epics and Old English and Norse sagas. Or go back to very beginning: Gilgamesh.

    You could say Hollywood takes it to a brain-dead extreme, but the opposite pole, "naturalism", a ruling convention of American independent films and the Sundance Institute, is just as bankrupt and mindless.

    Mass-entertainment is mass-entertainment.....

  • I've seen Dallas Buyers Club yesterday, you can freely add it to the list.