And Batgirl just got canned. ‘We’re Not Going to Put a Movie Out Unless We Believe in It’ says the company that put out Catwoman, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Wild Wild West and Carpool. :-). It’s a real shame though. Im tired of taking my daughter to the movies watching dudes on screen.
Please bring back the story heavy movies from the 90s. Fight Club, Usual Suspects, Scent of a Woman, Iron Giant, Big Lebowski, Being John Malkovich, 12 Monkeys, etc…
The accountants fresh out of Ivy League universities are driving entertainment decisions more than ever before.
I hear stories of creative meetings that are now 70/30 accountants/creatives. Used to be 100% creatives followed by accounting/budget review.
The questions asked in these “new contemporary” finance management-driven discussions are beyond moronic.
Agree with Sinan and glad to see the back of these, if indeed they are not taking a snooze, like I do in watching 'em. I remember watching Iron Man 3 on the back of a plane seat and I’ve never slept so very very well on a long haul flight.
The relatively recent and majestic Aniara and the ageless Tarkovsky make for much more engaging (hate to say existentially important, not impotent) viewing. Under The Skin was a great film, also. The only thing I celebrate about those other films is the contrast it allows for those that I do like.
There are still great story- and character-driven movies being made — just largely not in the US. Or if in the US, not widely promoted or known.
Marvel has sucked from a story perspective for a long time IMHO. But at least it used to be good eye candy. Now the VFX have even taken a hard slide. It’s all about predictable returns, predictable stories, and volume over quality or originality.
Where’s my Dark City, speaking of 90’s. It was sci-fi with lots of effects, and a great and original story.
Loved Dark City. Alex Proyas in his pomp. Big fan, also, of the undervalued 12 Monkeys (loved the Hamster Factor making of, also). Btw, I loved the relatively recent tv series of the latter, especially the nazi time travel episode.
The opening two minutes of Dark City is cinematic genius.
This all sounds like petty politics to me. I once made all the graphics and opening for a network news show. The Executive Producer of News HATED the producer of the show. I think it might have been personal, but he bad mouthed her every chance he got. After about of year (I did minor interstitials for the show as it went on) he final got her fired. He then proceeded to redo all the graphics in such a way that they were all incredibly ugly and bizarre with zero attention to “form follows function.” He basically just shit on everything that had to do with her show. The next morning I heard on the radio news that it was announced that he was leaving the network to become the head of news at a rival network. Petty, ego-driven politics.
Or maybe it’s a shitty movie.
Agreed. It’s such a big and expensive business that it seems to me there is a lot of fear of profit loss for investors driving decisions. I think what might not have been mentioned here is the fact that these big films are increasingly being financed by China so I feel there is a drive toward “stories” that can translate well. Much like in advertising this leads to a product that is more generic and lacking in regional focus/personality.
Of course there are smaller films that slip through but it can be difficult to find them. This isn’t new. Shawshank Redemption and Lebowski both bombed on release.
What I do find difficult now though is how to find the good films. With IMDB being owned by Amazon I don’t find it so trustworthy a voice as I once did. And Rotten Tomatoes seems less than neutral too. Perhaps I should subscribe to Sight and Sound magazine again unless you all have done better ideas to break through the algorithms?
On your initial subject @randy , my daughter and I quite enjoyed Ms Marvel.
Totally agree, if you just scratch a little bit you will find wonderful movies out there. Maybe the problem is the amount of publicity some movies get.
Part of the trick to beating your own algorithm in order to find the good, unique films is, if you happen to watch a crappy Marvel flick, or any other turd - be sure to vote it down if the streamer gives the option, or remove it from your list. Then just put on a film or show that you really like, even if you’re not watching it again.
Or for instance, my teenage nephew is visiting and he might want to watch some stuff that would upset my algo - so if I’m smart I’ll torrent those for him rather than stream.
Or create another profile?
Uh, DUH. Less than one coffee in this morning.
Well at least the musicians are still getting paid for this one…
“Top Gun: Maverick” was a real treat (and so good in IMAX).
Jordan Peele’s “Nope” was unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time and I need to see it again as it was so good. The day-for night work in that film was truly next-level work by Hoyte van Hoytema.
Good films are still out there and as long as superhero flicks bring in enough revenue so studios can still make films like “Nope” and the upcoming “Oppenheimer” then I’m OK with the situation.
I think many suffer when the VFX is all they have to lean on and seem even to be their raison d’être. There’s this concept called “cinema of attractions” and I am ambivalent about the analytic power of the theory, but if there is indeed a “roll-up roll-up attractions” (starting with Trip to the Moon) and then a classic Hollywood mode where narrative was clearly in the lead then it is a continuum with some work that ages badly at the attractions end of the scale. This war of words between the purity of in-camera and vfx is a faux marketing war. I watched the bts of the fujuninon lens capture showcase of Maverick and I am afraid it didn’t hypnotise me into “running to the cinema” (to borrow Tarantino’s phrase). One of the interviewees said that the sequel would not be made until capture was itself top gun, and same with it needing the story. From what I have seen and heard the latter is not too much to write home about or to haunt the memory. I’ll certainly drift into watching it and some point and may prove myself wrong.
I was rewatching The Hudsucker Proxy the other night and some of the compositing has aged badly, but it is such a visual feast that the vfx work is clearly not a fig-leaf or a p*ss-poor prosthesis to sure up an empty world-build. I saw a Siskel and Ebert piece on Youtube from back in the day where they were roasting the film for its lack of engagement in opposition to its undoubted look, but Ioved its engaging call-backs and evident love for the classic form. So much I see is am empty vessel heading to nowhere, and with little interest along the way. Time only tells this open secret more clearly.
I can, and do, watch Citizen Kane again and again, and it ain’t bad for 1941. Orson, who art in (ashes scattered somewhere in Spain)…
PS Funnily I have a big place in my heart for films that must know they’re trash. I’ve watched Segal’s Born To Kill countless times and never tire of the montage training sequence and the fireside love scene with Kelly McGilliss that occurs like the next day (he was in a coma for months but his mind didn’t know that!) after losing his wife and child. The mullets of the baddies in these films is priceless. Timeless!
I had an 11 hour flight today and watched “Everything Everywhere All of the Time.” Absolutely some of the best cinema I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in a long while. So much so that I watched it again, after suffering through the “Northman”
Finished up with 3/4 of the “Breakfast Club” which I hadn’t seen in forever. It hasn’t aged well…
I was so disappointed by the Northman. Loved the witch and the lighthouse. But man, it just did nothing for me. The perpetual brooding, the almost action video game like structure, willem Defoe getting like four minutes of screen time and then… the super distracting sky replacements on EVERY shot. That killed me. I get it, we’re in Iceland. I get it. I don’t need an aurora borealis over and over to remind me of that.
Everything Everywhere is a great film and I’m hoping that the great A24 (which sounds like a middling road in the pUKe) studio is not jugged up by Disney. That would make for some strange synergy. I don’t know if there is a pattern with Northman, but you sometimes get these situations where “people say” and “people have said” that they really like something about something and then the complemented party goes back to their drawing board and decided to make that something that is a wall-to-wall aspect of their next liked offerings and then, in the process, blank everything else out that blended it in so well. The paradigmatic choice/s, that people felt blended so well into the larger syntagm, loses sight of its place and drowns any place it had within a larger ecology or narrative out so that it becomes straight-up concentrated self-parodic regime of “vision.” I remember loving Matrix 1 and there were some mind-bending affordances* within it, but then by the time it got to 3, it was just a series of fight sequences. Perhaps people loved that break-in to the facility, as I did, and then they fixed their sights on that?
Perhaps it’s like ageing and one starts to become an exaggerated parody of oneself. I know that I’m heading in that direction in terms of become a sad and saddled exaggeration of my former self!
*One such “affordance” was that I really thought that they’d cash in was that “the real world” would itself be a matrix, and so there’d be matrix all the way down, like some Derridean 'there is no outside text" and that there’d be no outside of Plato’s cave where illusions are mistaken for reality, and are only “projections.” I remember seeing the Agent Smith character, in a hacked body, appear at the door in the real world where Neo operates as bouncer as the brains of the revolutionary avant-garde are having their planning session when that knock on the door comes. I remember thinking, “how could A.S. jump outside of the matrix and into this, so-called, real world” “…unless…” I remember coming out of the cinema with some colleagues and having a conversation about that and being kind of excited that they might add an extra Russian doll layer or to to it to reflect on that planted affordance. That affordance was never cashed in and instead we extend into a series of fight sequences in subsequent “chapters.” Don’t get me started on the unmitigated mess that is the last visitation.