Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby filmfan94 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:54 am

2016 Oscar nominations; unsurprisingly, La La Land has the most nominations.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/201 ... allot.html
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby filmfan94 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:22 pm

Very sad to hear that. I always thought he was a great actor with such a distinctive voice.
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby filmfan94 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:54 pm

David Shepard, curator of the Blackhawk Films library and the man who helped bring many silent films into the open, has passed away from cancer.

(see post 68)
http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.p ... 55#p182355
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby JustinHoskie » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:21 pm

“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.” http://www.broadway.com/buzz/187742/sne ... ou-is-gay/
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:44 pm

Big thumbs up for Bill Condon's live-action Beauty and the Beast. At its best, this is a more real-world take on the very familiar musical which fleshes out its characters and world in appealing ways. The animated 1991 original is a classic and hard to top, and I expect people will have strong opinions about this, but there's a lot to love here. This is a longer film and there are are a lot of new ideas here, and most of them are good ones.

Not everything works, and we can quibble about the film's choices. It's a mixed bag. But the choices the film makes are consistent ones, which set its tone. The enchanted servants are more ornate here. I'd call them over-designed compared to the 1991 film, but consistently so.

Then there's the more-humanoid, very-CGI Beast. The more animal-like 1991 design is ignored here, for reasons passing understanding. He's always moving in a CGI kind of way, and never quite convincing enough, even compared to Jean Marais in the 1946 film which clearly inspired both Disney films. But the important thing is that the performance of the character comes through. He has kind eyes and manages to "act" onscreen likeably throughout. Not a small feat for a CGI character. Another reviewer said that the eyes were the only things they got right - but that's also key to the character. He is a bit disappointing and not the showpiece character that he could have been, but it's still a version of The Beast which works.

Arguably we could compile a long list of nitpicks, complaints and missed opportunities, and still come out of it saying that this film works. It's a faithful adaptation which brings new ideas to the table and consistently delights, when it would have been easy for this film to fall flat on its face, or to copy the 1991 film while adding nothing new.

For what it's worth, Alan Menken has written new song numbers for the film, with some lyrics by Tim Rice. Different new songs were written for the Broadway musical. We are spared "Human Again," which was added to the animated film in 2002. It's not a necessary number and it's not missed here. Instead we get a more emotional song, "Days in the Sun," a real improvement for this film's purposes. Kevin Kline's Maurice sings a little something, but it's minor. And The Beast gets a new solo song, which is frankly a mistake and stops the film dead. The Broadway musical tried something similar.

The oddest choice the film makes is a subplot involving a book and Belle's mother. It fills in some backstory for Belle, but in an awkward way involving magic. I'd call it one new idea too many, although Watson, Stevens and Kline are good enough actors to get through it.

The cast is all charm. Harry Potter star Emma Watson seems like she's been a Disney heroine her whole life. Luke Evans plays Gaston as a charismatic war hero with violence in his veins. He's less cartoony and less of a punchline than he could have been. He's not obliviously dumb. He knows how to read people, and say what they want to hear. He's a liar, but he's not a fake hot air balloon. Dan Stevens pulls off the roles of the Beast and the Prince without embarrassing himself - not easy to do. And Kevin Kline is as likeable as you'd expect as Belle's father.

Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston's sidekick, gets a lot more to do than his animated counterpart. Gad is not enough of a stage actor to pull off the song number "Gaston" - his voice gets lost in the mix. And often the joke is that Gad is playing the part in a more mumbly and anachronistic way than expected. But the bold choice here is that LeFou is played as overtly gay. He idolizes Gaston, wanting to be like him, and be with him. And when Gaston starts to do terrible things, LeFou has to put those feelings aside. From the start, we like and root for LeFou.

The film also takes time to give the enchanted servants plenty to do. Emma Thompson plays Mrs. Potts in an Angela Lansbury sort of way. Ian McKellen as Cogsworth makes a delightfully rusty old clock. A reluctant soldier and even more reluctant lover. Ewan MacGregor is charming as Lumiere, played as something of a romantic lead, and again toned down compared to the 1991 film. During "Be Our Guest," he comes close at times to talking rather than singing, but you could say the same about Jerry Orbach's original.

"Be Our Guest" is cranked up to a higher level of visual complexity here, emphasizing the magical nature of the servants, and how hard they're working, trying not to screw this up. The whole film is very visually complex and detailed, perhaps to a fault. They throw away the familiar designs from the animated version for something more ornate and baroque. I'm tempted to say there's too much going on, onscreen and in the design, and even to call it ugly, but I found myself liking it regardless. The film has its own visual style, and that look is a deliberate choice which more or less works. It helps that the visuals work overtime to give us more.

Visually, the live actors are allowed to look like cartoon characters, with the prince's court wearing period-style makeup that's very theatrical. The overall effect is almost like seeing a Disney show on Broadway, where you appreciate the often unusual choices made to make this work with live actors. We get to know the servants a little more both in animated and live actor form.

The 1991 film is a simple, tight, almost perfect animated musical. The live action film expands on that and takes its time a lot more. But it has enough good new ideas that this feels like it's adapting to the pace of a live action film in 2017, and giving the actors something to do. It's not the exact script of the 1991 film, though the familiar songs are present and accounted for. Sometimes, where the 1991 film was subtle, this script is blunt. The "provincial" townsfolk are allowed to be rude.

It's easy to nitpick this live action version, since the animated film could have been remade, designed and adapted any number of ways. There are little moments from the original which become lost opportunities here.

But then again, there are many moments which use twenty-five years' hindsight to fill in bits of plot that the original film skipped over. There have been jokes for years about how the arrogant prince was twelve years old when he was cursed - too young to know better. That's not true here. The prince is older and in charge when he is cursed, and there are fleeting attempts to blame his bad behavior on his father. You'll notice he's less childish than the 1991 Beast. This is a Beast with a backstory, and a little life experience.

When the Beast saves Belle from some wolves and passes out, we fix another twenty-five year old plot hole, as here, he's just awake enough to get back on Belle's horse.

Belle has more than one blue outfit, and doesn't change out of her gold outfit when rushing out of the castle.

The film tries to give reasons why the townspeople would consider Belle strange, beyond that she's literate. In doing so, though, it compounds the problem - they seem strangely anti-literacy, and being jerks for no reason. We see that there's a bit of her father in Belle - He's an inventor, and also in this version primarily an artist. It also gives Belle the backstory that she was nearly raised as a city girl - no wonder she tires of the provincial life.

The film is also pleasantly aware that Belle's taste in books leans toward romance rather than education. Since the Beast is fully literate here, it's played off as girl stuff versus guy stuff.

Oh, and the ending is fully aware that we've gotten to like The Beast, and don't care so much for the Prince he turns back into. They cover this with one line, as a joke.

So, why remake a classic that's lost none of its appeal in the twenty-five plus years since its release? Well, because people will pay money to go see it, of course. As an animation fan I wouldn't want it to replace the original, but I'll think of it as a film adaptation of a musical. We've already had the adaptation on Broadway. Well, when the results are as good as this, it can stand on its own feet as a film. I can live with it. And if Disney's other remakes are this respectful and smart, they'll be worth seeing too.
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:35 pm

Arrival. Very interesting, often very believable take on Earth's first contact with aliens. Realistic, even, considering the subject matter.

Amy Adams is great. The film is very smart about how we process and understand language, and how a first contact could proceed, with two species trying to understand each other. There's also a timely subplot about a young soldier radicalized by alt-right propaganda (Alex Jones style).

Comparisons to Contact are obvious, though this is a very different film in tone. The cinematography's a bit dark and murky, without much pop or color to it, and the whole film feels muted and underplayed, which is fine.

The ending is a sticking point. The film ends on a personal note, giving Amy Adams something to play off, and introduces a smart science fiction concept which is fairly unique in its thinking. But it's still a muted and rushed point to end the film on. It's more clever than emotionally moving, but it is clever, fitting together like a puzzle. The film was clearly building up to this, even if it leaves you wanting more.

An interesting film. Recommended.
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby filmfan94 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:22 pm

Looks like The Other Side of the Wind will finally get released:
http://www.wellesnet.com/other-side-of- ... lles-film/
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:08 pm

I'll believe it when I see it reviewed, but -- looking good!
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby FloorMat116 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:24 pm

filmfan94 wrote:David Shepard, curator of the Blackhawk Films library and the man who helped bring many silent films into the open, has passed away from cancer.

(see post 68)
http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.p ... 55#p182355


Been away from the forum for a while. Really sad to read this today. I'd been in contact with David last year concerning his restoration on THE LOST WORLD. Without his work, I never would have seen many of the silent films I consider some of my favorites. Thank you David, may your legacy live on.
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