Sean's Film Diary 2018

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I get what you're saying, but the drama felt so powerful and purposeful to me that I regard it as an essential element of the film.
The first half (let's call it the 'playtime'-part) is filmmaking at its loveliest, but standing on its own, it's probably a bit too naive. The slowly developing drama feels raw, real and important to understand the way of living that's being observed.
I have no problem with the drama i just don't think it needed to be resolved, i don't think us finding out Moonee's fate added much. Would have personally preferred it ending in some way with Moonee and Halley heading off to a new motel or whatever i dunno, just a more ambiguous ending i wasn't a fan of a straightforward beginning and end narrative for this particular film. Although, then we wouldn't have got the great ending which is why i have mixed feelings.

Anyway, i totally get your point of view here and i don't totally disagree with it.

I don't like the ending all that much but don't find it unambiguous either. The girls are ill prepared for where they end up. It's like their fantasy before the reality.

Ive never seen Catch Me if You Can
I have a hard time recommending stuff to you. You consistently surprise me with your thoughts on film. You generally like Spielberg? My gut says this would be too light for you.

Hey Sean, what is your opinion of the post-modern critique of non-organic farming present in Transformers: The Force of the Rings?

I have a hard time recommending stuff to you. You consistently surprise me with your thoughts on film. You generally like Spielberg? My gut says this would be too light for you.
I like old Spielberg the best but I think I have to try it at some point.

You've never seen anyone wearing a fanny pack?
Ok, you're talking about the purse the dude in The Hangover wears I assume. I think it may be convenient if you're picking up a lot of loose change but I wouldn't get one.

Sounds like a song

My father was a drunk
And he was a gambler
But he aint wear no stinkin'
Fanny pack, you ****er

Sounds like a song

My father was a drunk
And he was a gambler
But he aint wear no stinkin'
Fanny pack, you ****er
That reminds me, I once wrote a song a few years ago when I was considering going to mortician school.

The Fugitive Kind
Sidney Lumet 1960

This popped up on Filmstruck and I had never even heard of it. Lumet directing Brando in a film based on a Tennessee Williams play, hard to miss for me and it didn't. I know it is becoming in vogue to hate on Brando because of the kind of person he was but there is no denying that his screen presence is one of a kind. This film opens with him simply giving a speech to a judge that we never actually see. He is subdued and contrite but still as magnetic as he could possibly be. The scene sets the tone for what I think is a very under rated Lumet film that should be talked about more.

I suppose being based off a play this film just doesn't feel cinematic enough to cinephiles but I think Lumet adds some touched that gives it a bit of a magical feel. It remains more of a chamber piece but the way he frames certain conversations and how his camera moves with characters at certain times is impressive. Add that to the look of the final set piece and I found the film visually interesting.

The highlight of the film is, of course, the script. I love the characters and worlds that Williams creates. I have said it about older films before but the time period this was made in helps the movie so much. If this was made now it would have a lot more sex and violence. Not necessarily anything wrong with that but I find those elements so much more effective when they have to be more a part of the subtext as they are here. It gives the film a tension that would not exist if everything was simply being thrown at the screen.

Brando is fantastic bit Magnini is just as great as the shop owner who gives Brando his second chance. The scenes between the two of them are mesmerizing. Victor Jory does not get a lot of screen time as Jobe, the crippled shop owner and husband, but his presence is felt over the entire film and adds so much of that violent tension I was talking about.

This is really a great film that I hope more Mofos will check out. Probably my fifth favorite Lumet at this point.

Battle Of The Sexes
Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Did a Carell double feature of two movies that people seemed to be pretty lukewarm on last year. At the end of the day I guess I was a bit lukewarm on them as well but I was pleasantly surprised that they both were entertaining watches mostly due to great casts in both.

Stone was fantastic as King in Battle Of The Sexes. This is an actress that I was a little cold on to begin her career but over her last three or four films I have become a huge fan. I like Birdman and La La Land more overall but I honestly think this might be her best pure performance. Maybe I have a thing for actors portraying real life people but I found this performance so subtle and pure, I really enjoyed it.

Carell is giving a bit more of a performance as Bobby Riggs, but necessarily so. By all accounts Riggs was very cartoonish and a hustler/entertainer at heart so Carell was the perfect choice to portray him and didn't disappoint. I also love how the film makers allow us to see this character in the same way King and others did. He could easily come across as a complete villain but we are allowed to view him as the flawed child like man that he seemed to be.

I give a lot of credit to this film for erasing the jaded edges I brought into the film. The idea of a 55 year old man taking on the greatest women player in the world always has felt like little more than a side show of real issues to me. The film does a great job of making it feel relevant. I think most of that is because of how King is portrayed. She is a very level headed and pragmatic character. That makes it easy for the viewer to view things from her perspective.

I also enjoyed how the film is made to feel and look like the era the events took place in. It is a nice touch that is not over done and works very well. Solid film all around. Well worth a watch.

Last Flag Flying
Richard Linklater 2017

The second of my Carell doubleheader. Without a doubt this is not a flawless film. The characters are very simply drawn and the dialogue is wonky at times. Linklater couldn't have picked three better actors for the roles though. Cranston in particular is allowed to do what he does best and ham it up for two hours straight. The three performances are what I enjoyed most but I also liked how Linklater undercuts our typical thoughts on soldiers. The idea that every single soldier is running head first into war for the love of country and that all killed soldiers died heroically is subverted here. What I like the most is that it is not subverted in an offensive way. I instead we are shown how young and naive the soldier experience can be. That even if bad things happen because of mistakes there can still be dignity and heroism in that. That in the end soldiers are just regular people who deserve respect and forgiveness in all circumstances.

There are a couple scenes here that are pretty devastating. Other than the performances and those scenes the rest of the film is very average and doesn't leave a whole lot to discuss honestly. Recommended for fans of Linklater and the actors.