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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB – October 29

A new week… lots to wonder about… I’ll be posting, but here is some space for you to Bring Your Own Blog…

91 Responses to “BYOB – October 29”

  1. Bardem… will he go lead or stick with a supporting category he could win? I could see him getting best lead actor wins from critics groups for both No Country and Love in the Time of Cholera (plus Goya’s Ghosts if they’re generous).
    Also, christ he’s sexy. That is all.

  2. David Poland says:

    Roger Friedman went to an effects event by Rhythm & Hues and is now blowing New Line because he probably got a ticket to the New Line 40th anniversary dinner… don’t pay attention to the schmuck in front of the curtain.
    Not saying the movie won’t be good. Just saying, he hasn’t seen it, so don’t get too excited either.

  3. Cadavra says:

    There’s a huge billboard for COMPASS on Highland Blvd. that makes it look like GRIZZLY VS. MECHAGRIZZLY. If this is the route they’ve chosen to market this thing, I’d be concerned.

  4. lazarus says:

    Does anyone else find it strange that MM posted that review link here, and that Ian Sinclair posted the same link on Jeff Wells’ site, with the same “Roger Friedman raves…” choice of words?
    Same person, or same foolish notion that Roger Friedman’s opinion matters?

  5. Ain’t It Cool News is a total waste of time these days. When was the last time they actually broke a story? “Ian McKellen cast as Gandalf”?

  6. I get to see NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN tomorrow night here in Nor Cal….Josh Brolin’s going to be there too. I’m super tempted to bring my copy of PLANET TERROR to get signed….just so, you know, he doesn’t forget he starred in PLANET TERROR.

  7. Funnier idea: get him to sign a wife beater.

  8. movieman says:

    Brolin is going to get the most traction from “No Country.”
    He’s long overdue.
    Loved him in “Flirting With Disaster” eleven years ago, and he was great on that 1-season Michael Mann show way back when.
    Brolin also gives the best performance in the otherwise disappointing “American Gangster,”

  9. alexandertg5 says:

    Thought you were gonna mention Heartland Film Festival. Man in the Chair starring Christopher Plummer just won the Audience Choice Award there. It has also picked up a bunch of other regional film fest awards this year.

  10. LexG says:

    AMERICAN GANGSTER = NOT AT ARCLIGHT = ARGGGGH!!!!!
    Do regular film geeks still even go to the Chinese? Haven’t been there in YEARS; Is it still a post-Hollywood-and-Highland mix of pure hicks and thugs?
    On that note, when did the Grove go all hardcore on weekends? Last time I went, it was all teenagers. Where’d the blue hairs and smug Hollwyood wannabes go?

  11. doug r says:

    Just be happy you don’t have 1 massive theater chain that owns 90% of the screens that got rid of their DLP screen, had sunlight shining around an exit door frame, hasn’t repaired a burn mark since LOTR AND charges $11.95.

  12. ployp says:

    Ratatouille at $515.4 millions world-wide, passed Toy Story 2 and Aladdin. The next animated film to pass is The Simpsons Movie (524.1 millions) and Monsters Inc. (525.4 millions) then Madagascar (532.7 millions). I didn’t know Madagascar made more $$$ than my all-time favorite Monsters Inc.
    The Rat RULES !!!! I couldn’t be happier.

  13. IOIOIOI says:

    The Rat did not do crap in the US. Nor does it continue to be a cash revenue MACHINE like CARS. So… yay… for a quality flick making good bank abroad. However; it’s not really a win. Unless it’s a win on US soil. It’s more like a PUSH.

  14. ployp says:

    “However; it’s not really a win. Unless it’s a win on US soil. It’s more like a PUSH.”
    on US soil???

  15. Noah says:

    It’s definitely a win in for Pixar-Disney if it means over five hundred million dollars in their wallets. It’s nice to break records, of course, but I think they’ll gladly take hundreds of million in profit.

  16. Wrecktum says:

    Hey Noah, I just read your article on Ridley Scott. You nailed that one, brother. Blade Runner is indeed the most overrated movie of all time, and Scott is the most overrated director of his generation.

  17. Wrecktum says:

    I can’t fathom how anyone would consider a half-a-billion dollar grossing movie a PUSH. Agenda, methinks.

  18. CloudsWithoutWater says:

    Teamsters backing the WGA, now it gets interesting…

  19. Noah says:

    Thanks Wrecktum, although I know folks are sometimes passionate about some of his films, I wonder how passionate they are about HIM. Do the people who love him REALLY love him?

  20. Wrecktum says:

    His wife?

  21. Noah says:

    I don’t know, she probably thinks he’s too ordinary :) I guess we’ll see how passionate people are by how many defensive e-mails I get!

  22. brack says:

    Noah, nice work on your Ridley Scott piece.
    Blade Runner is overrated. In fact, I agree with all your feelings about that movie. Great to look at, but not much else.
    Personally I liked Hannibal for what it was. Lecter wasn’t the same as he was in Silence of the Lambs, but I figured years of not being in prison probably mellows out anyone.
    Thelma and Louise was just a fun movie. The actresses were at their finest, and it had Brad Pitt’s butt. Women love Scott for that. It got a lot of Oscar nominations and won Best Screenplay that year, so someone thought it was good.
    I think it’d be fair to say Ridley Scott has a slight edge over some directors because of Alien, Matchstick Men, Black Hawk Down, Thelma and Louise, and Blade Runner. Once your movie is considered a great achievement, no one can ever take that away from you, even if you make crap later on. People are always going to be interested in your work. Especially if your work made a ton of money in the past.
    I can’t believe I never knew Ridley Scott and Tony Scott were brothers, LOL!!!
    I think Russell Crowe’s Oscar win for Gladiator had less to do with that movie and more with his nomination the year before with The Insider. That’s my theory, because I agree, he didn’t really “act” in Gladiator.

  23. lazarus says:

    Scott is certainly overrated, and his films lack a unifying authorial voice, but I take issue with two of Noah’s points:
    Aliens is not a superior film. I’ve heard that fanboy bullshit so many times it’s ridiculous. Cameron made a great action film, but Scott made a great film, period. Perhaps if you prefer state of the art special effects over atmospheric suspense, but to my eyes there’s no comparison. I wouldn’t consider Aliens a let down or failure as a sequel, but it falls victim to the cliche of trying to outgun the original.
    The other one is with Kingdom of Heaven. I don’t get how someone could not see the drastic improvement between the original theatrical release and the Director’s Cut. I think the longer version may very well be Scott’s masterpiece, and it’s a shame he wasn’t able to make an awards run with it. While I don’t think Orlando Bloom was a great choice either, he doesn’t ruin the film for me, and I think the DC gives him enough to assuage the doubts I had with the original cut.
    Other than that, a well-written piece. There is way too much attention paid to his projects considering his track record. I still would have loved to see his Tripoli film though.

  24. “Great to look at, but not much else.”
    It really bugs me when just because a movie is a visual experience first and foremost that it somehow isn’t as worthy as more intellectual stuff. Sure, Blade Runner is primarily a visual flick but what a visual flick. Those are some of the best images ever put onto screen. Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise and Alien are masterpieces in my eyes. Matchstick Men is one of the underrated movies of the decade if you ask me.
    Hannibal was one of the best comedies of 2001 too.

  25. IOIOIOI says:

    I am a big fan of both Scott brothers. So… bashing them… leads to severe aggrevation and the BEAST MODE on those doing the bashing. I do love having something else NOT IN COMMON with Noah.
    Nevertheless; Wrecktum… agenda? Get the fuck out of here. I am stating an honest fact about the CASH-HOG CARS has been for PIXAR. Remy is making a fine amount of loot abroad. Loot that does not come close to being as profitable as tiny metal painted cars. CA-CHOW.

  26. Noah says:

    Lazarus, for the Alien/Aliens thing I think other than the scene where the alien pops out of John Hurt’s chest there is very little that is suspenseful about the film. Sigourney is great in both, but I find the second film to be more fun and when we’re talking about a movie about giant space aliens, it should be a little bit fun I think. I think the first one suffers from taking itself too seriously, but hey I see your point of view.
    I really wanted to fall in love with the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven, but I still think it was an overwrought piece that failed to capture the sheer scope of the Crusades and Bloom is such a non-presence that it’s hard to ignore, especially since we’re supposed to see the whole thing through his eyes. Again, it’s one of those things where I’m just not seeing what everybody else saw.
    Kami, you really think Thelma and Louise is a masterpiece? Have you seen it recently? It did not age very well. As for Hannibal being a comedy, I think that’s the problem with the film; it didn’t know how to skirt that line between gallows humor and terror the way Demme knew how, so Ridley settles for over the top to compensate.

  27. I watched T&L earlier this year as a matter of fact and it’s still an amazing masterpiece. That dialogue! Those performances! And the final scenes still make me blubber like a baby.

  28. movieman says:

    You haven’t seen “The Duellists,” Noah???
    It’s like the sequel to “Barry Lyndon” that Kubrick never got around to making:
    a great film.
    Except for “White Squall,” I don’t think Scott has ever made an uninteresting movie. Even the ones that don’t work (“Kingdom of Heaven,” “American Gangster”) are compelling on some level (visually, performance-wise, whatever).

  29. IOIOIOI says:

    Movieman; be prepared to be taken out track-star ZOMBIE style with you American Gangster criticism. Noah; if you like Woody Allen in any way. You pretty much make your derision of Scott; pretty damn funny. BANANAS. That’s it. MOVING ON.

  30. ManWithNoName says:

    Movieman, you really found “White Squall” uninteresting? Maybe it’s just from growing up on a sailboat, but I love the hell out of that movie.

  31. ManWithNoName says:

    Speaking of overrated, Silence of the Lambs anyone?

  32. movieman says:

    I actually preferred “Someone to Watch Over Me” to “Fatal Attraction” in the fall of ’87: now Aidan Lyne is a case of style trumping substance every damn time!
    P.S.= I don’t get the “one track-star ZOMBIE style” comment.
    I’m not the only critic who has panned (or is going to pan) “AG.” The reviews are going to be very divisive.

  33. Me says:

    I really like Blade Runner for the whole existential crisis irony of it. I think its got a lot more depth than people give it credit.
    Alien was good for the tension and the idea of people used as pawns for the corporation, but Aliens has a lot more heart and is a better movie (both thanks to the fun action elements as well as more emotional depth). The character of Ripley truly came alive in the sequel, when Cameron delved into the idea of motherhood and lost children. Sigourney was nominated for best actress for that one, thanks to a script that gave her a lot more to do than in the first one.
    Finally, I don’t love Ridley Scott, but he is one of the best all-around directors around. I’d equate him to the Howard Hawk of this generation.

  34. BLADE RUNNER is terrific. ALIEN is a terrific horror movie; ALIENS is a terrific war movie. GLADIATOR is a terrific popcorn picture. The director’s cut of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is my pick for best picture released that year. I have seen it six or seven times now. My favourite Scott picture is his first, THE DUELLISTS; I have its score on my iPod. The reason Noah hasn’t seen it is because he is just a kid who knows jack shit about movies; my eleven year-old daughter is more clued in than he is.

  35. movieman says:

    Me- I really, really like Scott, too, and have been defending him on this message board (yes, I even dig “G.I. Jane.”)
    But “the Howard Hawk(s) of (t)his generation”??!!
    Them’s are fighting words, pup!
    One question:
    Does that mean that Tony Scott is our resident John Ford??

  36. Noah says:

    I might be a kid, but at least I don’t go trolling around the internet using three different handles. Thanks, Hunter, for the insightful commentary, I hadn’t realized that all those films were “terrific.” You blow my mind.
    IO, I love Bananas! But the thing about Woody is, that while I think he has as many misses as hits (similar to Ridley in that respect) I think his highs are a bit higher. I don’t think Ridley could ever make a film as good as Hannah and Her Sisters.

  37. Ppsted by some stupid kid called Noah:
    “I don’t think Ridley could ever make a film as good as Hannah and Her Sisters.”
    Okay, not only do you know jack shit about movies, but you’re a moron, too.

  38. Noah says:

    Wow, you’re just vicious. I might be 24 years old, but I don’t go on message boards and call people names for having a different opinion. If you have want to have a discussion about film, then make an argument, don’t just go around calling people morons or try to rope them into playing childish games. This is a blog for discussions about film, if you want to have one then let’s discuss. If you want to just take personal shots at me for my age, then you can direct those to Noah@moviecitynews.com and stop wasting other people’s time.

  39. brack says:

    “It really bugs me when just because a movie is a visual experience first and foremost that it somehow isn’t as worthy as more intellectual stuff. Sure, Blade Runner is primarily a visual flick but what a visual flick. Those are some of the best images ever put onto screen.”
    I said it looked great. However, without a decent story, no matter how great your visuals are, they get old pretty fast. The lack of story make the visuals almost meaningless.

  40. When you post complete bullshit, labouring under the complete delusion that your opinion is worth anything more than a flying fart, you deserve to get called on it, so don’t bother crying for your mommy, junior. In the words of Denis Leary “you know dick about dick.” That shit might sail in film school, but out here amongst the grown-ups, we laugh at you and call a clueless cretin.

  41. Joe Leydon says:

    “I don’t think Ridley could ever make a film as good as Hannah and Her Sisters.”
    Actually, that sounds right to me.

  42. ThriceDamned says:

    Ridley Scott for me is very hit and miss. He’s made quite a few films that don’t work for me thematically, but when he hits it, he really fucking hits it. Blade Runner, Alien and Kingdom of Heaven: DC are in my mind masterpieces. Gladiator and The Duellists are near-greats, and the rest of his ouvre interesting failures mostly.
    What I really like about all of his films is the sense that what I’m looking at is a whole world. Not just the little part the story takes place in, but all the stuff that’s happening peripherally. Like if you’d just turn the camera, something equally interesting would be taking place over there.
    As for “However, without a decent story, no matter how great your visuals are, they get old pretty fast. The lack of story make the visuals almost meaningless.”, I have to say I disagree. If your visuals are strong enough and evoke a certain feeling, they are perfectly able to contain a meaning all unto themselves in my opinion.
    Now…as for Tony Scott…blech!

  43. Me says:

    I’m not crazy about Hannah and Her Sisters, and think Ridley has made some films as good, but if you had said that you didn’t think he could make a film as good as Crimes and Misdemeanors, I’d be in complete agreement.
    Movieman, Howard Hawks made some great films (the Big Sleep and To Have and Have Not are both personal favorites), but he never seemed to break through to the masters like Hitchcock or Wilder who put their own stamp on film. He transended genre and made excellent movies (and a few stinkers – god, was Hatari! bad), but there never seemed to be a thread through them that suggested that he was anything more than an excellent filmmaker. That’s how I think of Ridley Scott.

  44. brack says:

    “If your visuals are strong enough and evoke a certain feeling, they are perfectly able to contain a meaning all unto themselves in my opinion.”
    So what was the meaning behind the visuals in Blade Runner?

  45. Dave Vernon says:

    So much negativity on this board…why slam someone for having an opinion. And honestly, he’s shown much more maturity then some people have here with their name-calling. When I see those negative posts I try to just scroll down and ignore them.
    In terms of Ridley Scott and Woody Allen…always confuses he when people try to make these comparisons. Ridley Scott is interested in a different type of movie experience than Allen is. And his movies appeal to a different audience. Ridley Scott’s world always seems very cold, remote and lacking in hope, which is why I don’t really vibe with it. But his movies have a lot of eye candy. Woody Allen’s best movies deal with affairs of the heart and are smaller, more personal and, for me, moving. But Ridley Scott is still making very effective movies and Woody Allen seems to have completely lost it. But why compare the two? I think each filmmaker should be talked about based on their own work, their own sensibility.

  46. Noah says:

    ME, I was just trying to say that the best Ridley Scott films doesn’t achieve the heights for me as the best Woody Allen films. And Dave Vernon, the only reason I made the comparison was because someone had suggested that if I liked Woody then my opinion on Ridley didn’t matter, so I was just defending Woody. I completely agree that Ridley is a more effective filmmaker currently than Woody is, but I always hope that Woody will churn out one more great one.
    The Howard Hawks argument is interesting, but Hawks has made several legitimate masterpieces in His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, The Big Sleep, and (one of my personal faves) Ball of Fire. I don’t know that Ridley has made a film equal to any of those, but I do think that he showed that he should be working on smaller, more intimate pictures with A Good Year and Matchstick Men.

  47. hendhogan says:

    noah,
    no suspense with dallas in the tunnels and the alien closing in on him and not knowing where to turn? no suspense when ridley comes around the corner to get to the escape craft and sees the alien in her path?
    alien is a horror movie. aliens is an action flick. even though they are sequels, they are very difficult to compare. some people like “wrath of kahn” others like “the voyage home.” both trek films, but hardly alike.
    but as to the main oeuvre of the article. you dismiss movies like “thelma & louise” because you didn’t “get it” when you were young and still don’t. now, you can put that failure on ridley if you want, but i’d suggest looking inward there.
    and if all you’re doing is looking at the pretty pictures then you’re missing a lot in “blade runner.”
    finally, see no reason to lift up one brother and put down the other. tony’s done some good work too, just hasn’t won that oscar yet.
    p.s. spike lee: “bamboozled” bombs are where you look for them

  48. brack says:

    I thought Match Point was great.

  49. Noah says:

    Hendhogan, I appreciate your love for Alien, but it just didn’t do it for me. I just think Ridley takes the subject a bit too seriously and for a horror film, I didn’t find it very scary except for the moment when the alien comes out of John Hurt’s chest and that is an iconic moment in cinema and I give him full credit for that.
    Thelma and Louise is a film that I get now and I still don’t think is very good. Of course it’s always possible that the failure is mine in not seeing what I’m supposed to, but it’s a pretty straightforward picture and while I felt sympathetic to the plight of these women, I just didn’t find them to be more than stereotypes and that hurts the film because it rests on how much we care for them. They do what the script requires them to do rather than what we believe they might actually do.
    I’ve watched Blade Runner so many times, so please fill me in on what I’m missing. It’s another film structured like a videogame; kill replicant henchman after replicant henchman until the face-off with the “Boss” at the end. Throw in some origami from Edward James Olmos and a love story with Sean Young and you’ve got the movie. Look, I will never put somebody else down for loving a film I didn’t, but I just don’t see what everyone else is seeing with that one.
    P.S. Bamboozled is absolutely brilliant. She Hate Me and Girl 6, though…

  50. Me says:

    Noah, I tend to think of Hawks as a genre director (he had great successes on comedies, noir, westerns) the way Scott is a genre director (he’s had great successes on action, sci-fi, thrillers). And while you’ve stated that you don’t have a taste for Ridley’s work, I have a harder time with your suggestion that Ridley hasn’t made legitamite masterpieces. The Academy has recognized a number of his films and even though quite a bit of time has passeed, Alien, Thelma & Louise, Blade Runner and more are very well thought of. I would argue that as many people think of some of those films as masterpieces as Bringing Up Baby or the Big Sleep. And unlike Hawks, Ridley’s still working, with more excellent movies possibly to come.

  51. hendhogan says:

    “Blade Runner” is about the existence of the soul. We’re in this world that is so bleak, so stark that even our glimpses of the rich are filled with massive empty spaces. Dekker is a man charged with a task that on the face is simple. But as he hunts the replicants, he finds himself more and more dehumanized. After all, these guys aren’t on a rampage killing people. They are trying to live normal lives. They fight only when attacked (with the exception perhaps of Rutger and the corporate boss). He discovers that the “bad guys” even though artificial are more human than he is. He has to let go of preconceived notions if he is to truly live. That’s why the original ending of just seeing Sean Young at the end of the hallway and not knowing what happens next is perfect and the Hollywood version feels tacked on. He’s in a crisis and his next move determines what type of man he will be. That it’s not shown to us illustrates that it doesn’t matter. We each have to make that choice for ourselves. We each have that moment.
    It’s also pretty to look at.

  52. hendhogan says:

    as to “thelma & louise” if you can’t buy into the conceit that the innocent can be wrongly convicted, you are taking out a big portion of films.
    as to “alien” i think they’re are fuller characters in the original than the sequel. Sure, Cameron adds the motherhood aspect, but is that really so special? Ripley was originally a guy, so that Ridley went with Sigourney is amazing on its own.

  53. bmcintire says:

    I think part of what made ALIEN great was the time in which it came out. Most popular science fiction up to that point came with a white, shiny sterilized atmosphere (STAR WARS, 2001) and Ridley’s film was dark, dirty and not unnecessarily lit up with kleigs. And he took full advantage of that, utilizing H.R. Geiger’s design work to create an atmosphere we had not seen before. ALIENS seems more a direct response to the hyper militarization of science fiction that took sway in the 80’s (ROBOCOP, TERMINATOR) that happened to use a character and the monster(s) from the previous film. ALIEN 3 was closer in tone and “seriousness” to the original. (And speaking of serious humorlessness, hello SILENCE OF THE LAMBS!) Not to denigrate your opinion because of your age, but I think the channel-surfing through movie history removes a lot of the impact of film (as does having an initial impression of a film occur in childhood). My early memory of watching BARRY LYNDON (now one of my favorites) was tarnished by finding it fitfully boring as a kid. Of course, I also held THE TOWERING INFERNO is high esteem until I knew better (though, I will admit, I still find RASHOMON an unwatchable chore). But audiences (and critics) of the time, who had actual historical perspective, saw (and see) those films differently than those discovering and embracing/discarding them now. It doesn’t necessarily make their opinions more valid, but it tends to make their dialog more interesting.
    Fire away.

  54. Noah says:

    Hendhogan, that’s a great analysis, but doesn’t the fact that Ridley told us years later that Dekker was a replicant kind of ruin your conceit? You talk about how he learns to recognize what kind of man he is, but he’s a replicant too according to Ridley. Either way, I appreciate your view on the film and I saw the same themes (although you articulated them much more clearly than I could have) but it just seemed too pretentious to me. I think the point could have been made more clearly and I think Ridley’s purposeful obfuscation of what his point is really hurts the film’s impact. But yes, it’s pretty to look at.
    As for Thelma and Louise, even if I buy into that truism, it still doesn’t help me from seeing these characters as less than realistic, cardboard cutouts. But if you like it, then you don’t need my approval.
    Bmcintire, Barry Lyndon has always been one of my favorite films first of all. I agree that time can change opinions, but I always have given every Ridley Scott film a fair chance. I’m not looking to dislike a film. Every time out, I want to be wowed and awed by every film I see (even the ones directed by Michael Bay). With Ridley, I just noticed that people were praising him as if he were a master, but I don’t think the evidence is there to put him in the same league as the Kubricks or the Antonionis or the Bergmans of the film world. He’s just not in that league. I don’t even think he’s as good of a visceral filmmaker as Michael Mann. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by channel-surfing through movie history, but I can assure you I give every film (especially the ones deemed “important”) my full attention and try to put things into historical perspective.

  55. Joe Leydon says:

    “And unlike Hawks, Ridley’s still working, with more excellent movies possibly to come.”
    Well, gosh, it’s not Hawks’ fault that he can’t get a job these days. I mean, he is dead, you know. Cut him a little slack, man.

  56. hendhogan says:

    this coming from the man who chastised me for asking a producer on his take on “the departed.”
    as to bmcintire’s point, some films taken out of historical perspective don’t have the same impact. you have to see it in it’s time, which is not easy to do.
    i recently saw the first “rocky” at the afi retrospective. i knew the story, i knew everything, just hadn’t gotten around to watching it. afterward, the friend i went with pointed out that the training montage had never been done before that movie. what seems ordinary now was extraordinary then.
    and, yes, shame on me for waiting so long.

  57. Me says:

    Joe, I’m assuming you’re kidding, but I only meant that while I think Ridley’s made a number of films that will be as well remembered as Hawks, there’s a chance for Ridley to make more that will help cement his place in history.
    Frankly, though, now that you mention it – I think even dead Hawks could make better movies than Brett Ratner.

  58. bmcintire says:

    Noah – I don’t think you are going into the viewing of a movie with either an agenda or a lack of historical knowledge. The channel-surfing reference – which was a bad one now that I think about it – would probably have been better served by an equally cliched time-machine metpahor. I can watch RASHOMON and try to imagine how ground-breaking the multi-perspective storytelling device must have been for its original audience, but the device is now so shop-worn, it’s nothing but tedious for me in the present day.

  59. Noah says:

    Bmcintire, I see what you’re saying now. As Hendhogan said, it’s hard to view films as they would have been seen at the time. But still, some films still work just as well now. I think Citizen Kane is still great, even if the technical aspects have been oft-copied and I think Duck Soup is the funniest movie ever made, despite seventy years worth of comedy coming afterwards. So, for a film like Alien or Blade Runner, maybe they were great at the time, but they aren’t timeless like the greatest of films and that makes them lesser in my eyes. Casablanca, 2001, The 400 Blows, all of these films will be just as good in a hundred years no matter how many times they are copied. Of course, mine is only one opinion. But, I do think you make a great point about how film exists both inside and outside of time and how tricky it is to make a film that will be as great today as it is in fifty years.

  60. brack says:

    I don’t buy Ford’s character went through any of those processes mentioned. We never got to know his character well enough.

  61. hendhogan says:

    now that i think about it, to be overrated one must know where you have him rated to begin with. while i enjoy ridley scott films, i wouldn’t equate him with kubrick either. did someone do that?

  62. Noah says:

    I’ve heard people call Ridley Scott a “master” filmmaker and when I think of that term, I think of filmmakers like Kubrick, Bergman, Antonioni, Truffaut, Godard, etc. I’ve heard people tell me that Blade Runner is a better sci-fi film than 2001 and that Ridley is the greatest filmmaker a live. So that’s why I thought he was overrated.

  63. Ridley is the greatest filmmaker alive and Blade Runner is a far more infulential film than 2001 ever was.

  64. hendhogan says:

    i think of him as a “master” as well, but within context, compared to the hundreds of other directors out there. While the others you list are also masters, i wouldn’t equate any of them, even with each other.

  65. hendhogan says:

    well, influential is different than better.

  66. Dave Vernon says:

    Noah,
    I’m also wondering how many of Scott’s films that you discussed you have seen on a big screen vs a television screen. Now, I’m not accusing you Noah till you respond to this, but I do get frustrated with people who write their opinions about film based on a dvd or tape viewing. It’s like taking a look at a postcard of a great work of art. Ridley’s films are on a big canvas and should be seen that way.

  67. Noah says:

    The only ones that I haven’t seen on the big screen are 1492, Black Rain, Someone to Watch Over Me, Legend and Alien. I’m one of the few actually saw White Squall and GI Jane in theaters. Perhaps a big screen viewing would have helped with 1492 or Legend, but I don’t think so.

  68. I have seen every Ridley Scott picture in the first week of release (I saw THE DUELLISTS in London at least a dozen times over a fortnight on gradually shrinking screens; it was a big flop. I have the wonderful score on my iPod). I did not care too much for LEGEND as the story was too thin, but it looked great on a big screen. 1492 looked even better.

  69. anghus says:

    i also liked Match Point.
    I haven’t seen Blade Runner in so long, i can’t remember which version i’ve seen.
    Aren’t there like 9 out there now?
    Maybe ill wait for the Ultimate Final Director’s Limited Edition Hangin’ From the Side of a Building bundle that will inevitably be in the works.

  70. brack says:

    I hate the “you have to see it on a big screen, otherwise you’re not being fair” argument. I hadn’t seen any of the Star Wars movies on the big screen until the 1997 re-releases, but I still thought they were most amazing movies to look at growing up. And they also told a great, epic story. And it goes without saying that everything looks better on the big screen. But the big screen doesn’t have the power of making me overlook all of a film’s shortcomings.

  71. TuckPendleton says:

    Fun thread. I think that Thelma and Louise gets a lot of credit (and rightfully so) for being first one through the door, and two great lead performances, but I agree that it doesn’t hold up over time as a total movie. I think Romancing the Stone is in the same boat.

  72. TuckPendleton says:

    And while I am loathe to agree with the nasty and simpering Miss M, the Duellists rocks, and I hope anyone who hasn’t seen it does so post-haste.

  73. Noah says:

    Tuck, absolutely great handle. Innerspace is probably one of my favorite “sick day” movies, along with Joe Versus the Volcano.

  74. brack says:

    Innerspace has been on HBO Family a lot this month. One of my favorite movies, but my only complaint is the part where Tuck is able to change Jack’s face into the Cowboy. It just seemed a bit too convenient.

  75. Me says:

    I love Joe Vs. The Volcano, but have a hard time explaining to people why I love it.

  76. Joe Leydon says:

    Joe Vs. the Volcano is one of my all-time faves. And, no, not because of its title. But you’re right: Those who don’t get it, hate it.

  77. movieman says:

    Good Lord, Me!
    In your misinformed remarks about Howard Hawks you’ve single-handedly turned back the cause of auteurism 50+ years!
    “No single thread running through his films”? Clearly you haven’t seen enough Hawks–or watched the Hawks films that you have seen closely enough.
    Go to Amazon.com, order a copy of Andrew Sarris’ “The American Cinema, read it cover to cover (memorize the Hawks chapter) and then get back to me.
    And any Hawks cultist–and/or card-carrying auteurist–will tell you that “Hatari!” is a bonafide masterpiece.
    Ridley Scott is a fine director (as is his brother, the consistently underrated Tony, for that matter), but Hawks, Ford, Wilder, Sturges, et al the Scott brothers most certainly aren’t.

  78. doug r says:

    Perhaps a big screen viewing would have helped with 1492 or Legend, but I don’t think so.
    Trust me, it didn’t.

  79. movieman says:

    If I was writing an update of the historical Sarris tome I referenced above, the Scott brothers would fall into the “Expressive Esoterica” chapter.
    Howard Hawks will always remain in the “Pantheon.”

  80. CleanSteve says:

    I love LEGEND. I’ll be the one to defend that.
    It IS campy. No doubt. The dialog is ridiculous. Cruise is ludricous. No arguments there.
    However, I remember it being one of my most memorable big-screen experiences. I was 15 when I saw it. It blew me away. I still find it to be a stunning visual achievement. I think it functions as a sort of “museum piece,” in that this movie would be all cgi these days. I’m no cgi hater, like a lot of people, but I also grew up following guys like Rob Botin and Rick Baker. Botin’s work in LEGEND deserved that Oscar, Noah. It was stunning and massive. You can argue that it’s way overdone (Ebert called it “a muppet movie” if I remember correctly) but that doesn’t lessen how good the craft is. Tim Currey is quite good, best performance in the movie. And the work on Darkness remains amongst my all time favorites.
    I also like the movie for it’s straight-forward squareness. Unicorns, elves, faries, etc. Square, corny, no-frills silliness. Theres a certain charm to that. Also charming is watching those amazing prosthetics and designs romping about real sets, not cgi backdrops.
    I won’t try and argue that it’s “good.” But the fucking thing is right in my wheelhouse on a lot of levels. I can’t help it.
    ALIEN, however, remains a towering achievement. It stuns me when I encounter anyone who isn’t enraptured by it. My wife had to watch it for a film class recently. She’d never seen it, and commented afterwards that it was “silly.” I slept on the couch that night.
    I don’t like to pull out the “age” thing, but there is something troubling when my 14 y/o son finds JAWS and ALIEN (and Cameron’s sequel which I see as virtually equal, both films in my top 10 of all time)…he finds these films “boring.”
    The world I grew up in is gone….

  81. Noah says:

    If it’s any consolation, Steve, I love Labyrinth. And I do quite like Alien, I say as much in the piece, I just prefer the sequel.

  82. IOIOIOI says:

    Noah; this is just a weird discussion. You are once again bagging on someone with no other response to the bagging but; “Hey! I dont like him.” Good for you. However… huge fan over here… and what you are doing constitutes nothing more then pithy internet fanboy retort. Good for you, but Hannah and her Sisters is pretentious trash :D!

  83. brack says:

    Dance magic, dance.

  84. Noah says:

    I think I’ve made lots of points, IO, including writing an entire article and you still miss the point; it’s not that I don’t like him, it’s that I don’t think his work merits being called a “master” filmmaker, that I think he has been rated a bit too highly (in others words, “over-rated”). At a certain point in every argument, though, one must agree to disagree. I tried to back up my claims as best I could and if you feel that Hannah and Her Sisters is pretentious trash, I would love to hear you elaborate on that. I’ve already done so with regard to Ridley Scott and I never intended to change anyone’s opinion, only to state my own.

  85. Since we’re on the topic of “iffy” directors and I’ve grown tired of the Scotts argument (Ridley’s overrated imho) I just walked in from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and man, when the Coen Bros are on….there’s hardly anyone better in todays cinema.
    And they are so…so…so on in this newest one. I don’t want to rave too much because then I feel like everyone goes in looking for holes in what people are totally blown away by so I’ll just say….it was pretty good. Prettty….pretty good.

  86. IOIOIOI says:

    Noah; I am being silly. Relax. I just never thought that I would read someone referring to Ridley Scott as anything less than a Master. Seriously dude; I have had more heated arguments about Gilmore Girls. So this is a refreshing change of pace for me. Nevertheless… no biggie there Noah… but we once again have nothing in common. Schucks.

  87. OH! I dunno if it’s been mentioned hereabouts BUT….there’s another viral website for DARK KNIGHT at
    http://www.whysoserious.com/
    All month it’s been a jack-o-lantern with a candle burning lower each day and today, (well, Halloween) it burned out and now there’s all these clues for a DARK KNIGHT clue or symbol in most every major U.S. city. Pretty neat! I’ll get my San Francisco clue Thursday!

  88. Noah says:

    IO, we both love Sal Governale and Richard Christy and for that, I will always hold you close to my heart.

  89. “I just think Ridley takes the subject a bit too seriously and for a horror film,”
    Umm… it’s a horror flick in space! If it wasn’t serious then it’d become a comedy (Leprechaun: Space Platoon comes to mind).

Quote Unquotesee all »

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin