Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:57 am

Here's the crowdfund to restore the unreleased George Romero horror film, The Amusement Park.

https://www.georgearomerofoundation.org ... ement-park

https://twitter.com/DanielDKraus/status ... 7499901953
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:23 am

Hey, screenwriters. Look back on your career. Hands up if you wrote Star Wars, American Graffiti, Howard the Duck, Radioland Murders and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

No hands going up?

RIP Gloria Katz.
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:57 am

Every expose of Woody Allen:
https://imgur.com/TCOwn4A
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:55 am

Ralph Breaks The Internet (Wreck It Ralph 2) - Inventive, thrilling, and well worth seeing, but a slightly disappointing followup to 2012's Wreck It Ralph. Then again, the first film was one of the best that Disney has made lately. Filled with passing references to video game culture, it starred John C. Reilly as a villain from an 80s arcade game, who gets tired of being the "bad guy" and goes on a journey to find himself, ending up in racing game Sugar Rush, with wannabe racer Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). It was a little bit surprising to see cameos by video game characters in a Disney film, but that was just window dressing, as the film hinged on the emotional journey of the lead characters. The sequel attempts to recreate that by delving into internet culture and memes, as window dressing for another emotional journey for Ralph and Vanellope. It's imaginative, fast-paced and looks great, but it's diminishing returns at this point. There's little to complain about, but this is Disney at its most risk-averse. It reminded me a lot of Disney's Princess and the Frog (2009), in which the film seemed terrified that its characters would seem unlikeable for even a moment. This works well enough for children but tends to cripple the emotional impact of the scenes. Everyone is smiling, friendly and helpful 99 percent of the time, and it gets a little weird.

As Ralph and Vanellope enter the Internet - visualized as a high-tech city - they meet various new characters, some of them street racers and shady hustlers from the "wrong side of the tracks." Spoiler alert though, none of these characters are villains. There is no villain - the film takes great care to shave the sharper edges off of these characters until there's nothing much to say about them. The conflict hinges entirely around what the two lead characters have to learn about themselves. That part is satisfying enough, and visualized as a "monster" which is actually fairly creepy. It's great that this film is emotionally about something, and it delivers. But otherwise the film feels rewritten and noted to death, everything sanded down into the most inoffensive version of itself. It doesn't have much to say about internet culture either. There's a scene where Ralph "reads the comments" and feels sad, but this doesn't pay off in any larger story sense. A leftover, perhaps, from an earlier draft.

It looks like the film was being changed and rewritten right up until release, as the trailers showed material not in the film. The trailers played heavily off of two scenes where Vanellope meets the popular Disney princesses. The scenes are very jokey and absurd, and you've probably seen what they have to offer before you've seen the film. It's playing around with material that Disney owns, which might explain why the film feels a little like a commercial for something. Shots of the princesses taking selfies aren't in the film, and a scene of Merida (from Brave) talking in a heavy Scottish accent has been rewritten to function as the punchline to a scene.

One trailer featured a whole scene of Ralph and Vanellope entering a mobile game, and feeding pancakes to a bunny, which explodes, scaring a child. This scene is a bit weirder and darker than the rest of the film, and has been moved to the end credits, with the child in question pointing this out in dialogue. Which is weird. It was probably part of an earlier sequence where Ralph is making videos for a Youtube clone called BuzzTube. And probably someone said it was too dark and stopped the film dead, and it probably got cut along with a lot of other stuff we'll never see. There is, at least, a good after-the-credits gag.

The sequel also does very little with the characters from the original film, specifically Fix It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) and Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch). It's a missed opportunity to not have these characters come in to save Ralph and Vanellope at some point. The original cast, even Alan Tudyk, return for a few scenes but that's about it. You could argue that this film ignores some plot points from the original. It was a big deal that Ralph left his game for an extended period of time. And the first film's villain had left his own game and taken up residence in another game as a leader. This was depicted as an evil thing to do, but the plot with Ralph and Vanellope here relies on that being okay. Although some of that has to do with how Ralph's actions changed Litwak's Arcade generally at the end of the first film.

At the end, the film does get into why we use the internet in the first place - to keep in touch with friends from whom we've otherwise grown disconnected. It's poignant, if not exactly happy. As before this is a great voice cast who bring a little something extra to their parts. I enjoyed Ralph Breaks The Internet and it's a worthy sequel, but it also feels like there was a better film lurking in these ideas if they'd been willing to take a few more risks and get weirder with it. There's a certain disconnect between taking on internet culture and making a film that won't upset toddlers at any point.

P.S. If Ralph really knew how to use the internet he could have Googled mods and hacks to add new tracks and racers to Sugar Rush.
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Re: Movie Thread: The Dissection Room

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:59 am

The Favourite - A period drama set in the court of Queen Anne that is also a thoroughly unhinged pitch-black comedy, as if you collected all the rudest and naughtiest ideas that wouldn't make it into an ordinary period piece. Often hilarious and chillingly bleak, it plays out as a dangerous battle of wills between three very strong women with ice in their veins. Three meaty roles played by three great leading ladies - Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone - each an unstoppable force meeting an unmovable problem. The film looks like a well-appointed period drama, which helps the tone from feeling too modern, even as it's clear that the filmmakers are holding nothing back. There's some interesting wide-angle photography and non-linear editing which keeps the film at a fast enough pace. With its biting wit, I wouldn't be surprised if this was pitched as All About Eve (1950), circa 1705. The darkly comic tone ends up somewhere between Very Serious Period Drama and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I wouldn't call it a crowd-pleaser, which is refreshing nowadays. Very memorable performances from the leading ladies and not one you'll soon forget.

Shirkers - A fascinating documentary that's almost certainly a better film than the lost film it discusses. From the Netflix description: "In 1992 teenager Sandi Tan shoots Singapore's first road movie with her enigmatic American mentor, Georges, who then absconded with all of the footage." The loss of this film left a gap that haunts Sandi and her collaborators for over twenty years. The 16mm film was recovered after Georges' death, and illustrates the documentary as Sandi tries to fill in the gaps and the mystery, and understand something about her shady creep of a mentor - who is depicted as a villain throughout. While the film in question doesn't seem like anything very special, it might have been well received in 1993. I spent my teens and twenties as a no-budget filmmaker and this honestly brought back a lot of PTSD from times where I chose the wrong collaborators and lost control of a film. We put so much of ourselves into a feature film. I could make my own "Shirkers" from those regrets and scraps and scars, and I understand how those scars can last a lifetime.

They'll Love Me When I'm Dead - Hosted by Alan Cumming, this Netflix documentary focuses on Orson Welles' unfinished film "The Other Side of the Wind," which has finally been edited together now. Speaking to Welles' collaborators like Peter Bogdanovich, and cheekily using footage from Welles' films like F For Fake and Citizen Kane to illustrate its own story, the film presents a vivid picture of the great filmmaker in decline. We don't really understand Orson Welles from watching this documentary, but we seem to understand him about as well as his collaborators did at the time. They were frustrated with him, and Welles could be cruel and pushed people away who wanted to help him. Welles had been unable to get a film financed in Hollywood for the last few decades of his life, and his own frustration and anger came out because of that, an anger that was poorly focused, and hurt those around him. We see Orson's charm, and how he would hype his next project up to try to get the money and interest in it, and how that never happened. The film keeps Orson at a distance, unable to really get in his head but only focusing on the wreckage he left behind. And a film, which we can now judge on its own merits, if anyone wants to see it. I can't help but compare Welles, at this point in his life, to the animator Richard Williams, who similarly had to hype himself up to death to try to get funding for a film no one wanted to fund. And whose behavior was baffling, in the end, to those around him, and only really understandable from his own point of view. A quote unquote great filmmaker must always be in control, and in charge. And when he isn't, the disconnect can be too much to overcome.
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