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RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 3/4/2008 5:50:30 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


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Nice to see a good deal of praise for Gladiator.

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Post #: 151
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 5/4/2008 12:11:49 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield


'From the sublime, to the ridiculous.' So say many of Hannibal's detractors which I, perhaps predictably, am not. I am one of the film's staunch defenders and have been, in my own defence, since before I was a Ridley Scott fan. The film's biggest hurdle was that it needed to equal, in many people's eyes, the preceding film, Silence of the Lambs. Considering that was one of the biggest films of 1991, and went on to win the five major Academy Awards of Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay, it was going to be hard to equal. However, to compare it with Silence of the Lambs, as to a degree we must, is to ignore the vast differences between the genres of film. It is, to some extent, a similar argument to the 'Alien Vs Aliens' debate, where while they are definitely sequels, they are utterly different genres - horror and war - and as such are particularly hard to compare on a level-footing. The same is true here: Silence of the Lambs is a superlative detective thriller, with psychological undertones. Hannibal is a psychological drama with horrific undertones. They are utterly different genres, and as such while maybe not beyond comparison, certainly makes the task harder.

This is in no way a form of excusing the film. It is the most different of the trilogy that began with Red Dragon (Michael Mann's Manhunter is the preferred adaptation) because both that and Silence of the Lambs had detecting - this does not. Here the monstrous Lecter has free reign over his actions as he escaped at the end of Silence of the Lambs. While in the preceding films, and books, the monster was caged, here he is at large, and able to fully pander to his exotic tastes. There have been critics of the overtly horrific and graphic killings in the film - yet ripping open a man's torso and hanging him from the ceiling with it was a scene in Silence of the Lambs and is exactly what Lecter does.

My main criticism with the film is the casting of Julianne Moore. I understand the scheduling problems that caused Jodie Foster to drop out, but she is Starling, and Moore is a pale imitation. Certainly, this is a Starling that has aged and matured in the ten years since Silence of the Lambs, but something about her performance doesn't quite sit right, and is the only blotch in the film for me. Also note that I have read none of the source novels, so any criticism of the film changing, or not, any aspects of the film bears no weight on my reading of the film itself. (I'm aware that the ending is different, but not how.) The only other criticism is, as with many films, when foreign nationals speak heavily accented English to fellow foreign nationals. It's a debate for another (existing) thread, but it still doesn't quite sit right for me.

The cinematography is, predictably, top-notch, and the music is especially good here. The opera scene music will be used again (and to better use) in Kingdom of Heaven, but the whole score, including the entwining of Bach's music with the score itself, is exceptionally appropriate. Hopkins is on top form and not yet doing the role with his eyes shut as he does in Red Dragon, and an unrecognisable Gary Oldman is excellent as Mason Verger. Ray Liotta is also admirable, especially in the most memorable scene in the film, a scene which still makes me squirm just a little.

This really is a film that divides people violently. Either you love it, or you absolutely dispise it - there seems to be no middle-road. Nevertheless, I think it's an underrated film, and with the questionable Red Dragon and the even-more-questionable Hannibal Rising, it's possibly more highly regarded in general now than when it was first released.


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Post #: 152
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 5/4/2008 1:53:36 PM   
Deviation


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I still think it is rubbish, rubbish with great soundtrack, the downfall of the Hannibal Lecter trilogy. What, they also made others??????

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Post #: 153
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 6/4/2008 5:23:51 AM   
dracovir


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From: Wolverhampton, England
I enjoyed Hannibal first time round, there is a deeply rooted tension that runs throughout the film (until the 'dinner party'), however for me that did not hold up on repeated viewings.  The acting was pretty good all round, albeit somewhat pensive compared to Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs.  I though Moore did okay as Starling, it's just that she was not as good as Foster and that is one of the main comparisons that I noticed is used a lot.  The technical aspects - cinematography, lighting, use of effects, editing and sound design were typically Scott, and perhaps the main high point of the film.  The music worked well too, although it was not quite as stand-out-y as Zimmer is usually.

But, for me at least, the primary fault of the film was Hopkins.  He seems to have discarded his acting skills somewhere back in the late Nineties, I've not seen anything of his in the last ten years that matches his earlier work (his cameo in M:I-2 was just plain embarrassing).  The Lector on display here is so very different from the last time we saw him.  Despite the odd flash of violence, he felt to be more neutered, less threatening, and I felt in a way that the audience was almost meant to be rooting for him - and it never felt like it was the same character mellowed with age.  Second fault would be that silly, silly ending, where it seemed like after a tense chase someone changed reels and we copped the end of a Monty Python film instead - things became a little too surreal to gel properly with the rest of the film, almost becoming farcial.  I likewise have not read the novels, but my understanding is that the book ends with (*spoiler*) Lector's death by way of being fed to them wild pigs after a chase through an abandoned gothic theatre? and I can't help but feel that it would have worked better to end the film with that - despite Scott's own decision to avoid his film becoming 'like a vampire movie' (his words).

Overall, to me this is one of Scott's weaker films, although his technical brilliance shines through more than many of his other works - but I can't help feeling that this is due to the lack of distractions from it (like stronger story and characters). 


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Post #: 154
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 6/4/2008 5:28:39 AM   
dracovir


Posts: 1546
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Wolverhampton, England
quote:

ORIGINAL: Kadaj

I still don't really feel enthusiastic about watching Kingdom of Heaven DC, the TC was just really dull, and it just paled in comparisons to other epics.......like Troy .


If ever there were any reasons to justify the existence of a Director's Cut of a film, KoH is probably the most significant.  They are so different they are practically different films.  The DC stands up pretty well to most other epics, and leaves riseable attempts at Gladiator's blood-n-thunder crown such as Troy standing in the dust.  If you can get a chance to see it, it is well worth a peek, even if it means waiting until they show it on the telly somehow (annoyingly DC / Extended versions of recent films seldom get small-screen time).


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Post #: 155
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 7/4/2008 2:16:36 PM   
shool


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From: In The Pipe, Five by Five.
Sorry Homer, I thought this was a poor film. I dont compare it with silence of the lambs, but compare it with the book which is excellent.

Julianne moore was not a patch on foster and the menace of the cool calculating Lector was not successfully demonstrated in my view.

I would rate this as the worst Scott film I've seen.


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Post #: 156
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 7/4/2008 3:03:17 PM   
paul.mccluskey


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Enjoyed Hannibal a lot Homer.  Very different from Silence, but still brilliant.

You missed out on commenting on the superb performance from Giancarlo Gianinni as Inspector Pazzi though.

quote:

 ORIGINAL: dracovir

I likewise have not read the novels, but my understanding is that the book ends with (*spoiler*) Lector's death by way of being fed to them wild pigs after a chase through an abandoned gothic theatre?


That's not the way the book ends dracovir.  At the end of the novel... Hannibal drugs Clarice, they fall in love, and run away together.  A ridiculous ending.

< Message edited by paul.mccluskey -- 18/4/2008 2:25:15 PM >

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Post #: 157
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 7/4/2008 3:06:38 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
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From: Springfield
You're right - I did! And Francesca Neri as his wife was very.... camera-friendly... 

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Post #: 158
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 7/4/2008 3:09:14 PM   
elab49


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I thought the biggest hurdle here was Harris' seemingly deliberate attempt to sabotage any adaptation via his ludicrous ending to the book. Which Scott and his screenwriter were wholly unable to overcome. There are a couple of excellent scenes but I think, like the book, highly disappointing.

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Post #: 159
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 7/4/2008 5:36:42 PM   
tommyjarvis


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I really liked Hannibal, never understood the hate for it. It's certainly infinitely better than the Red Dragon redo anyway. Possibly my third favourite Ridley Scott film after Gladiator and Thelma and Louise.

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Post #: 160
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 8/4/2008 7:21:27 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


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I've always liked Hannibal. True, Hopkins is weaker than in Lambs and Moore's Clarice Starling is weaker than Foster's portryal, but there is much to applaud in the supporting perfomances, music and direction, and the film is dripping with atmosphere.

Interestingly, when I saw this at the cinema, no less than 3 different people were crying come the end of the film (or, specifically, the meal near the end of the film). The only time I've ever seen people cry at the cinema that wasn't LOTR.



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Post #: 161
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 16/4/2008 7:33:18 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield


Black Hawk Down is not a war movie. It is a battle movie. Furthermore, it is perhaps the purest example of a single, devastating battle. Of its144 minute running time, 90 of those are in an almost non-stop battle, with just one breath as some troops return to base for a regrouping. This is a film that gets you into the battle itself in a style that precedes Cloverfield, albeit not for its entire running time.

Briefly, this film tells of the failed mission to rescue prisoners from a building in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. What was meant to be a routine mission turned sour very early when a soldier (a young pre-stardom Orlando Bloom) falls from a helicopter and the razor-precise mission is fatally delayed beyond reparation. The prisoners are subsequently rescued, but the extraction of the troops proves more difficult than anticipated, especially in a very hostile urban environment.

For a pacifist such as myself for whom war is as alien an environment as a science-fiction landscape, I have an odd fascination for modern warfare stories. One of my favourite programmes at the moment is The Unit, which revolves around a group of top secret special operations soldiers - it's scripted by David Mamet, and the entire series is excellent. It shares many similarities in its depiction of the no-nonsense highly technically-advanced world of modern warfare to Black Hawk Down. Seeing this on the big screen back in early 2002 when it was released over here, I remember being absolutely blown away. People spoke of the frenetic camerawork in much the same way as they have of the afore-mentioned Cloverfield this year. At times, it is as if pure adrenaline is being projected off the screen along with the pictures and sound.

Which brings me neatly to another excellent aspect of this film; the tapestry of sound that complements the imagery (typically Scott-ish beauty, of course) so perfectly. The music is a fine combination of the military and the ethnic as works so well in this type of film; but this is interwoven, to extend the metaphor, with the array of other sounds that justifiably won the film an Academy Award for sound. Every gunshot is heard, every scream magnified. This is not a battle where bullets are strewn meaninglessly; rather, every bullet has significance, both positive and devastating.

Scott here assembles a stellar cast. Sizemore, Bremner and Hartnett re-team for the superior of the two battle-focused films they were in that year (Pearl Harbo(u)r being the other). They are joined by a host of recognisable names. Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewan MacGregor (sporting a questionable American accent), Sam Shepard, Ioan Gruffudd, Jason Isaacs, Jeremy Piven, Orlando Bloom... This is an excellent cast (Bloom is barely in it...) and they are used very well indeed.

Scott refines the military world he introduced in G.I.Jane into a focused, sharp film that is hard to believe is 144 minutes long. If this is one you have yet to see, then if you like 'war movies' as a genre, then it comes highly recommended. Hell, it comes recommended regardless! It's a film where the plot can be summarised easily, but where a great deal happens. This is one of my favourite Scott films and nestles neatly in between Black Rain and Thelma & Louise in my order of Scott films. (I may put a complete order once I complete the list.)


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Post #: 162
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 16/4/2008 10:01:13 PM   
Manchurian candidate


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quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Enjoyed Hannibal a lot Homer.  Very different from Silence, but still brilliant.

You missed out on commenting on the superb performance from Giancarlo Gianinni as Inspector Pazzi though.

quote:

 ORIGINAL: dracovir

I likewise have not read the novels, but my understanding is that the book ends with (*spoiler*) Lector's death by way of being fed to them wild pigs after a chase through an abandoned gothic theatre?


That's not the way the book ends dracovir.  At the end of the novel... Hannibal drugs Clarice, hey fall in love, and run away together.  A ridiculous ending.


I actually liked that ending. It wouldn't of worked with the Hopkins Lector, but in the book it's fine. It's silly, but so is the rest of the book.

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Post #: 163
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 1:16:44 AM   
dedalus1988

 

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Ok, I assume that Blade Runner is going to come out on top

and I am going to put my neck on the line and say that I really dislike the film

I know the apocolayptic visuals are awe inspiring etc etc etc..
but I must say that I found the central plot rather dull (maybe this is the booze talking) and Ford's character to be relatively 2d

and the whole unicorn dream sequence (which i believe is in the directors cut-- correct me if im wrong) is wholly despicable--so leaden with cliched imagery that i can't believe

however--well done mr homer simpson_esq for what I must say is a rather great list (as you always seem to do on these forums--how the hell do you watch so many films???)


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RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 8:03:09 AM   
homersimpson_esq


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Cheers dedalus. Although I feel obliged to point out that I don't watch half as many as some others here! I should point out that if you haven't read the whole list, this is a chronological list rather than an order of preference, so Blade Runner has already been reviewed. With regards to that, I do feel that I need to comment on your condemnation of the film, in particular the unicorn dream. Clichéd imagery? Despicable? I don't quite see how you jump to that idea. It fully fits in with the the parallels between humans and their creations; unicorns are a mythic creature and as such are wholly a human invention, as are the replicants. It also works within the idea that each replicant in the film is associated with a different animal. Roy Batty - dove; Pris - raccoon; Rachel - owl; Zhora - snake; Leon - turtle. Deckard is thus associated with a unicorn, the only animal that isn't real, and this helps to feed into the ever-raging 'is Deckard a replicant?' debate. Plus Gaff makes a little unicorn origami figure at the end which also fits in with this. (They're harder to make than you might think, I know - I've tried one!)
Hope this serves more as a way to reappraise the film rather than simply saying 'I disagree with you, you're wrong, etc, etc'!


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Post #: 165
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 9:35:29 AM   
Manchurian candidate


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I disagree with you, you're wrong. ect, ect.

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Post #: 166
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 9:44:38 AM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Yeah? Well....well...uhh...well...BADLANDS SUCKS ASS!!11!1lolz!!21!!

(And as a pedant you should be well aware it is 'etc', not 'ect', as it is short for 'etcetera', or 'et cetera', Latin for... well, I'm sure you know.)


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Post #: 167
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 10:04:21 AM   
shool


Posts: 10076
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Not seen black hawk down for a while now, but I remember it being adreneline fuelled and frenetic indeed. Will have to give it another watch I think.


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Post #: 168
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 10:09:25 AM   
Deviation


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How do you make the world forgive you for directing a shit film like Hannibal? Make a great film like Black Hak Down, great reiew homey.

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Post #: 169
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 5:44:00 PM   
swordsandsandals


Posts: 12571
Joined: 6/1/2006
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quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Cheers dedalus. Although I feel obliged to point out that I don't watch half as many as some others here! I should point out that if you haven't read the whole list, this is a chronological list rather than an order of preference, so Blade Runner has already been reviewed. With regards to that, I do feel that I need to comment on your condemnation of the film, in particular the unicorn dream. Clichéd imagery? Despicable? I don't quite see how you jump to that idea. It fully fits in with the the parallels between humans and their creations; unicorns are a mythic creature and as such are wholly a human invention, as are the replicants. It also works within the idea that each replicant in the film is associated with a different animal. Roy Batty - dove; Pris - raccoon; Rachel - owl; Zhora - snake; Leon - turtle. Deckard is thus associated with a unicorn, the only animal that isn't real, and this helps to feed into the ever-raging 'is Deckard a replicant?' debate. Plus Gaff makes a little unicorn origami figure at the end which also fits in with this. (They're harder to make than you might think, I know - I've tried one!)
Hope this serves more as a way to reappraise the film rather than simply saying 'I disagree with you, you're wrong, etc, etc'!



I'm still hacked off that Blade Runner came out on top in B. Back to the Future is a better film. As is Braveheart. As is Blood Diamond. Hell, even Blades of Fricking Glory is a lot more entertaining. "The night is a dark time for me." "It's dark for everyone you idiot" "Not for people in Alaska or dudes with night vision goggles." I mean, you don't get dialogue like that in Blade Runner. Yes, it looked brilliant, but the score really grates against the nerves, and its so slow moving my grandma overtook it in her Nissan Micra. I liked the film, but it just isn't the masterpiece of Homer's fantasies. Sorry.
I quite liked Black Hawk Down, from what I remember of it, I think. Looking forward to KoHDC. I'm expecting an essay to persuade me to rent it, ok?
Kudos for the effort on this list.

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Post #: 170
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 6:45:49 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
The score is one of the best things about the film - so ethereal, it complements the grittiness of the visuals perfectly. You also seem to criticise the dialogue of Blade Runner obliquely, by including examples of dialogue from another film. Let me give you some samples of the dialogue in Blade Runner:

"If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes!"

"It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?"

"Wake up! Time to die!"

"The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long and you have burned so very, very brightly Roy."

"I want more life, father."

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."

And so forth... Anyway, the speed of the film you comment on is an accusation of any film that doesn't deliver action every second. It could be levelled at the three modern westerns (and, on reflection, what is Blade Runner if not a type of western set in a noirish future?) of NCFOM, TWBB, and TAOJJBTCRF are all slow-burning films, but all pay off wonderfully, as does Blade Runner.

Oh, and regarding the KoH essay, it'll not be too long - I watched Matchstick Men today, so a review of that will be forthcoming. And you will want to rent the KoH DC after reading the review...!


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Post #: 171
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 8:36:33 PM   
dracovir


Posts: 1546
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Wolverhampton, England
Another great review there Homey; Black Hawk Down is one of the better films of this decade, certainly among the best of recent war movies - that I can't honestly put this in the top half of a 'best Ridley Scott films' list goes some way to define why he is proably the best film director of our time.  The pacing is excellently inconsistent - slow at first, as the mission is planned and gets under way, then we shoot into hyper mode editing, with a handful of breathers along the way.  The editing is raw, more like a newsreel than film (although the film does not at all come off like a docu-drama neither), although I seem to remember reading something at the time that Scott had rushed the editing of the film to get it out into theatres as soon as possible after 9/11, as we all knew at the time that we were going into war and Scott wanted to do his part to remind those at home the reasons why the soldiers would go and fight, even if their families back home did not agree with warfare.  Whether this was true, it certainly helps to elevate this film above the mere ordinary 'war film', and somehow manages to pull off rooting for American soldiers without resorting to the usual patriotic sentimentality that rears its head elsewhere (such as the actually not-all-that-bad-at-all Pearl Harbor).

It is visceral as a cinematic experience, blissfully loud (I had ringing in my ears for hours after watching this at the cinema), well acted despite McGregor's so-so accent with what felt like a genuine camaderie between the actors (even between William Fichtner's and Jason Isaac's competitive verbal sparring) - it's not surprising that at least 4 of them had just come off the same film set already (Fichtner had a small role in Pearl Harbor too).  There is no single star of this show, Hartnett more or less carried the film whilst Sizemore stole many stand-out moments and Bana handled almost all the cool gags, and there is no sense that anyone was looking to out-act each other.  A top ensemble, with almost no female presence (the only Ridley Scott film not to have a significant lady on screen maybe?) - a factor that you cannot see as even remotely sexist, where for once the characters are well-trained troops that do not ooze testosterone but instead are just there to get the job done.

Overall I found this to be unapologetically realistic, tense stuff with pretty much no gimmickry (the only 'hey look it's 1993 lol' shot in the film was a shot of someone reading The Client novel), that at the end of the day is little more than the chronology of one single day.  The 'hows', 'whys' and 'what happened nexts' are not a part of it (well, we all know the latter, the following day's events were famously broadcast to the world by CNN).  All we are left with are the events of this one day, what went wrong, and what those present did about it.  A great gem, a standout for its genre, with all the hallmarks of being a Ridley Scott masterpiece, even if he has done better before and since.


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Post #: 172
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 10:36:39 PM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77699
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
quote:

ORIGINAL: dracovir

(such as the actually not-all-that-bad-at-all Pearl Harbor).




Another fan!

A great review Homer, as always. I love Black Hawk Down, Scott's own Private Ryan.

_____________________________

So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

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Post #: 173
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 17/4/2008 10:48:41 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
I own the 4-disc Pearl Harbor set...  It's big, it's bloated, it's bombastic, but at times it's bloody good fun (and at other times, its bloody boring) - that's alliteration! 

_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

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Post #: 174
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 18/4/2008 9:01:21 AM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield


(Spoilers are in invisiotext)

After several high-profile films - an epic, a blockbuster sequel, a huge battle film - Sir Ridley moved to a smaller scale picture, but lost none of the quality. Matchstick Men is perhaps Scott's smallest scale film; all his films have some element of size, whether it's set across different countries, or dealing with big issues. Perhaps the last smallest film he made was 16 years previously, with Someone To Watch Over Me. Still, on this smaller canvas, set in one city across a short period of time, Scott crafts a film that bleeds style from the first frame.

The film concerns a pair of con men, or 'matchstick men' Roy and Frank (Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell respectively) and their small-time cons. Frank yearns for the long con, but Roy is happier with the smaller cons they do. To complicate matters, Roy is an obsessive-compulsive replete with multiple-door-openings, facial tics, and popping an unspecified illegal pill. When his regular supplier leaves town unexpectedly he finds himself unable to operate normally. Frank comes to the rescue and finds a shrink who can help. And then Roy discovers he has a 14-yr-old daughter...

What makes this film that little bit special is that where other films will concentrate on the cons themselves - (cf. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the TV series Hustle) - this film is primarily about Roy, and his relationship with his newly-found daughter, Angela. Certainly, we see the cons themselves, including a delightful scene where Roy and Angela con this sweet lady with a lottery scam. In the ensuing meeting with his shrink, Roy reveals that far from feeling ashamed at bringing his more-than-willing daughter into this life of crime, he actually loved it, and there's a genuine sense of bonding there.

While his daughter unexpectedly stays the weekend, Roy has agreed with Frank to do one long con, involving currency exchange and a greedy, selfish businessman. The presence of his daughter complicates things initially, but Roy agrees to allow her to come along as well. All through this we have a soundtrack that is packed with jazz standards and classics, removing any abiding sense of 'now' about it; this means that where his '80s trilogy' arguably suffers from a pervading sense of being dated, this film will age particularly well.

While the story itself is on the surface a fairly by-the-books con men story, there are two things that raise this up into the above-average 'category'. Firstly, it is the decision to make Roy an obsessive-compulsive. It is both what makes him so good at his job, and simultaneously his downfall. It creates a character, rather than a caricature. It endears the character to the audience where otherwise we might have little empathy for these crooks. It strengthens the bond with his daughter, and significantly it forces him to take the same queue at the supermarket when he gets his groceries. He sees the same cashier and eventually they exchange names on the road to what Roy hopes could be a relationship in his dreams. However, the same OCD prevents him from doing anything more about it.

The second thing that makes this film special is for those who have seen the film to read only. The following is in invisiotext for that reason...
---v
The absolutely unhinted-at twist utterly pulls the rug from under your feet. Seeing it a second time, I can see how the entire film works so brilliantly. Like Fight Club it is a film where the first viewing is a unique experience, and subsequent viewings never recapture that surprise, but your appreciation of the film increases. There are no little hints or asides given to make the audience think, 'hmm, I wonder if there will be a twist'. There isn't even a sense of things going too well, either, that us more seasoned film viewers see as an indication of bad things to come. It simply happens. When the con goes wrong, we still don't get any sense of a twist; it's simply a poorly judged con. What makes the twist so very, very bittersweet is that Frank has played Roy so perfectly - he knows exactly how he will think because of the OCD. He plays not only on his intelligence, but on his emotions. The idea of planting a daughter, and her age, is only made once Roy reveals that his ex was pregnant when he left, to his shrink. The shrink that Frank 'found' and who gives Roy a placebo for a replacement pill. Roy never sees his ex-wife when he drops his 'daughter' off, he makes careless assumptions. Finally, the entire con with Frank's 'friend' Chuck (who, clearly, is his actual friend) is a con itself, a double con if you will, which is only clear when we see Angela shoot Chuck. We see how that part of the plan must have come about when we see Angela finding Roy's gun in the dog-jar earlier, and we assume she must have swapped the bullets for blanks at some point earlier. The icing on the cake of the con is the fake hospital with the fake police officers attempting to get to the millions that Roy has in his safety deposit box ("no booth!"). Only when he sees his 'shrink' does he give him the code to pass to his daughter, who he believes to be in grave danger after shooting 'dead' Chuck. It's so brilliantly played out that you have to wonder why you didn't see any clues, but it's crafted so carefully that no hint is given.

However, what could be a terribly downbeat ending is actually one of the most surprisingly uplifting endings. After losing his millions in savings (which, let us remember, were just sitting in a safety deposit box, doing nothing) and losing the bond with his 'daughter', and discovering that he had been taking placebos, and had no drugs for his OCD, one might assume that Roy would be particularly depressed. And, after the 'one year later' title, you might still think so. Working as a carpet salesman, he seems to be leading a relatively unfulfilling life after his life of crime. And when the much-older looking Angela (Alison Lohman was 24 when she played the part) walks in with her boyfriend, there is a frisson of tension in the salesroom. After a short conversation, she leaves and, in an oddly tender moment, calls him 'Dad' still. It is only on the final few frames that we get the ultimate reveal of Roy's actual happiness. He returns home from his shift where his girlfriend/fiancée/wife (it is unspecified, unless I missed a ring on a finger), the checkout operator from the supermarket, is making his tea. As he gives her a hug, he crouches down and gives her pregnant belly a light hug, and listens to his unborn child. It took a con of such epic proportions to utterly destroy his previous life for Roy to overcome not only his criminal tendencies, but to overcome his OCD, and be able to take that next step. There is no 'revenge' on Frank, because to expect that is to miss the point of the film. The film was always about Roy, and through his relationship with his 'daughter' and through the realisation that he survived on placebos, he discovered something about himself that changed him to a better person, regardless of out of how much he had been conned.
^---

This is a film that manages to be both effortlessly cool, and surprisingly tender. If you haven't watched it, and would like to read my full review (!) then I highly recommend it. It's certainly not an 'epic' Scott film, but it isn't trying to be, and nor should it be taken as such. It's simply a wonderful little film that works exceptionally well.


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That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 175
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 18/4/2008 2:31:14 PM   
swordsandsandals


Posts: 12571
Joined: 6/1/2006
From: A magical forest
quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

The score is one of the best things about the film - so ethereal, it complements the grittiness of the visuals perfectly. You also seem to criticise the dialogue of Blade Runner obliquely, by including examples of dialogue from another film. Let me give you some samples of the dialogue in Blade Runner:

"If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes!"

"It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?"

"Wake up! Time to die!"

"The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long and you have burned so very, very brightly Roy."

"I want more life, father."

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."

And so forth... Anyway, the speed of the film you comment on is an accusation of any film that doesn't deliver action every second. It could be levelled at the three modern westerns (and, on reflection, what is Blade Runner if not a type of western set in a noirish future?) of NCFOM, TWBB, and TAOJJBTCRF are all slow-burning films, but all pay off wonderfully, as does Blade Runner.

Oh, and regarding the KoH essay, it'll not be too long - I watched Matchstick Men today, so a review of that will be forthcoming. And you will want to rent the KoH DC after reading the review...!



I was being stupid about the dialogue by quoting Blades of Glory. Those films are nothing like each other, so it was a bit of a joke. I do like Blade Runner, and you're right, the dialogue is great, (although that crap about C-Beams...? Kidding!) and you can get slow paced films that are brilliant - Terence Malick's the New World is completely mesmerising without having anything happen in it. But that takes in the glorious scenery around it, while Blade Runner is just claustrophobic (that was the intention I guess). I'm not saying it should have action every second, i mean imagine Blade Runner as directed by Michael Bay! But when everyone says it is as entertaining as it is thought provoking, I'm not sure. I think it just lacks a little on that front. I've been wanting an argument about Blade Runner since I saw it, cause it just ain't quite the masterpiece of lore. Well at least not from first viewing. Perhaps I need to watch it again, if I can find the effort.

As for Matchstick Men, haven't seen it, not in a rush to. It looks quite good, but I have a lot of films to watch at the moment, and that isn't a priority. Still not convinced about KoH DC, but I may make time for it...

_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rawlinson

Swords is right about everything.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Hood_Man

Swords smells like bum.



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Post #: 176
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 18/4/2008 2:39:18 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Ahh, well, my review of KoH will be a jazzed up version of the one I posted in mini reviews last december. I'll add bits as I see fit after watching it again, but I made a lot of points in defence of the film then. I'll make sure that you absolutely have to rent it, tho swords! 

Oh, and Blade Runner as directed by Michael Bay? *shudders*

As for Matchstick Men, I do recommend it when you've got 110 minutes spare. It's a nice light watch, but with meat to it too.


_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to swordsandsandals)
Post #: 177
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 18/4/2008 3:56:18 PM   
Kadaj


Posts: 1299
Joined: 30/9/2005
I absolutely adore Matchstick Men, it's an absolutely unique film in Scott's C.V and unfortunately doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Nice to see a long, quality review praising it homey. It's the performances that stick with you more than anything, Scott brings out the best from Cage and Rockwell (career-best some might say ) and perhaps the best in a Ridley Scott film. However, it's ultimately Lohman which creates the biggest impact- a character ful of charm, depth and sadness which needed a virtuoso performance to pull it off, and it's fair to say Alison Lohman 'matches' it .......

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 178
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 18/4/2008 6:45:45 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20118
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
Certainly Cage and Rockwell's performances are excellent, although I think that Leaving Las Vegas for the former, and either The Green Mile or The Assassination of Jesse James... for the latter are the respective career bests. I really enjoyed Matchstick Men. I bought it on DVD for about £3.99 soon after it came out because it went too quickly to the bargain bins. The other day was the first time I watched it, however, since I saw it at the cinema on my first wedding anniversary (aww, bless). 

_____________________________

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne.


Bristol Bad Film Club
A place where movie fans can come and behold some of the most awful films ever put to celluloid.

(in reply to Kadaj)
Post #: 179
RE: The Complete Ridley Scott - 18/4/2008 10:55:14 PM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77699
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
A brilliant review of a fantastic film. It never fails to entertain.

_____________________________

So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

(in reply to homersimpson_esq)
Post #: 180
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