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#598991 - 06/26/12 02:00 PM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Allen Montgomery]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
I think the film is pretty weak outside of Plainview, probably Anderson's weakest effort ... at least, narratively speaking. You kind of use the film up after one viewing. (But Allen is daft thinking McKee and Jones are anywhere close to Anderson's level of filmmaking. Neither has made a film that's as good as Hard Eight. Jodorowsky ain't much of a writer, but his visuals are pretty incredible.)


If you say so -- I've watched TWBB five or six times, and would happily see it further. Can't say the same for anything else Anderson's done. On a purely narrative level, it's on the minimal side I suppose, but better executed than the others. Save maybe Hard Eight, but that's even more narratively minimal, no? And on a meta-narrative level, I'd say TWBB has the most going on of any of Anderson's films, save maybe Boogie Nights. Boogie Nights had a lot to say, but it was all such a jumble, and there wasn't a character that came anywhere near being as fascinating as Plainview. To be honest, I forget what even happens in Boogie Nights. I should see it again I suppose. I know I did really like the film's coordinated movement from 60s free-love through gateway of the 70s into 80s cynicism/objectification/capitalism. That aspect was well done.

I do want to see some Jodorowsky. I know him but somehow I've never made time for him.

As for Anderson being an Altman clone, that's the criticism I'd expect of someone who takes the "he's just a rip-off artist!" view of Tarantino.

I'm surprised Allen's ragging on Anderson's visuals though. Did you see the same Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood that I did? They may be among the most visually gorgeous movies I've ever seen, and the quality of the imagery goes way beyond the lenses used.

I haven't see The Woman. I think it's on Netflix though? Maybe I'll watch that tonight.

I think the last movie I watched was Hobo With a Shotgun, which was better than I thought it would be. I especially liked The Plague.

K

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#598993 - 06/26/12 02:29 PM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: madget]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Originally Posted By: madget
Boogie Nights had a lot to say, but it was all such a jumble, and there wasn't a character that came anywhere near being as fascinating as Plainview.

BN was just variations on a "the porno industry is pretty fucked up" theme. TWBB was just variations on a "this guy is amoral and greedy" theme.


Originally Posted By: madget
I do want to see some Jodorowsky.

I finally completed my Jodo viewing experience recently with a bad rip of a VHS copy of Tusk (THANK YOU, PIRATEBAY). He does better when he's not trying to tell a linear story. The mechanical elements of getting a character from Point A to Point B in Santa Sangre, for example, distracts from the visuals.


Originally Posted By: madget
As for Anderson being an Altman clone, that's the criticism I'd expect of someone who takes the "he's just a rip-off artist!" view of Tarantino.[quote]
If Tarantino could just rip off other directors, that might be okay. It's his drawing attention to his ripping off other directors that makes it so insufferable.


[quote=madget]the quality of the imagery goes way beyond the lenses used.

Landscapes are beautiful, I'll give you that. If that's your thing, you'll love El Topo. Even the landscapes in Rob Roy didn't suck, and that was one of the suckiest movies that ever sucked.
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#598994 - 06/26/12 05:53 PM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Allen Montgomery]
madget Offline
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Quote:
BN was just variations on a "the porno industry is pretty fucked up" theme. TWBB was just variations on a "this guy is amoral and greedy" theme.


Balderdash.

Quote:
Landscapes are beautiful, I'll give you that. If that's your thing, you'll love El Topo. Even the landscapes in Rob Roy didn't suck, and that was one of the suckiest movies that ever sucked.


Heh ... I kinda liked Rob Roy. Kinda. It wasn't really very good, but it was weird. I remember being pretty amused by it.

Re: Anderson's visuals, It's more than the landscapes. It's the framing, the decision-making that goes into what to show, how to show it, when to show it. Subtleties like the use of pink/blue lens flares and bokeh throughout PDL, or the demonic aestheticization of all the oil and fire in TWBB. The shot of the frail fake-brother hanging his head down, body in shadow, emphasizing his lack of reality just as Plainview is beginning to see through his story. Anderson is a very visual director, really, one of those guys where every single shot is thought out and full of purpose -- more so in PDL and TWBB than in the preceding films, which is probably a part of the reason I like them more. If I cared enough I could probably pull a dozen screen captures from each movie and explain in detail why each one was a brilliant shot.

K



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#598995 - 06/26/12 06:37 PM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Jimbo Offline
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Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: Jimbo
Why didn't you like There Will Be Blood?

Structurally, there was a lot of extraneous material that didn't contribute to the theme, making the extended run time unnecessary. Paul Dano (Liam Neeson's cloned offspring) in two unrelated roles, for absolutely no reason. Unsubtle acting, awkward ending.



Hey, that is pretty much the same reason! You put it in fancier terms than I do, but the spirit is the same.
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#598999 - 06/27/12 12:30 AM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: madget]
Charles Reece Offline
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Originally Posted By: madget
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
I think the film is pretty weak outside of Plainview, probably Anderson's weakest effort ... at least, narratively speaking. You kind of use the film up after one viewing. (But Allen is daft thinking McKee and Jones are anywhere close to Anderson's level of filmmaking. Neither has made a film that's as good as Hard Eight. Jodorowsky ain't much of a writer, but his visuals are pretty incredible.)


If you say so -- I've watched TWBB five or six times, and would happily see it further. Can't say the same for anything else Anderson's done. On a purely narrative level, it's on the minimal side I suppose, but better executed than the others. Save maybe Hard Eight, but that's even more narratively minimal, no? And on a meta-narrative level, I'd say TWBB has the most going on of any of Anderson's films, save maybe Boogie Nights. Boogie Nights had a lot to say, but it was all such a jumble, and there wasn't a character that came anywhere near being as fascinating as Plainview. To be honest, I forget what even happens in Boogie Nights. I should see it again I suppose. I know I did really like the film's coordinated movement from 60s free-love through gateway of the 70s into 80s cynicism/objectification/capitalism. That aspect was well done.


I've considered editing together Plainview with Gangs of New York's Bill the Butcher, since no else can compete with Daniel Day-Lewis. Brando had a lot stronger character actors to play with back in his day.

Anyway, Anderson's movies surprise me over time, because I tend to reverse my judgments on them. Boogie Nights seems to me far superior to Magnolia and TWBB now, but I was initially blown away by the latter two. Although, Punch-Drunk Love I loved when I first saw it, and it now seems to me one of the true masterpieces of the last 20 years. It simply is the best romantic comedy in I don't know how many years. Only Up in the Air is even comparable.
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#599000 - 06/27/12 12:45 AM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
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Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
Now, I like McKee, but come on ... Even if you reduce them to the script level, Anderson is just so much more advanced.

You say advanced, I say muddled. And anyway, I'm not talking about the script. I'm talking about the direction, the way the images are composed and move on the screen. McKee and Jones have style, Anderson has expensive lenses.


I'm going to put aside how awful McKee's taste in music is (think emo), but, really, Allen, anyone should be able to see a major skill deferential in this final scene from The Woman:



and this tense moment from Boogie Nights:



McKee looks like an amateur.

As for Jones, his camera work and editing are functional at best:



Not sure about The Woman, but the budget for BN was 15 million, and SC's was 32! (According to Wikipedia's respective pages for those films.) So much for that theory.
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#599005 - 06/27/12 12:42 PM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Charles Reece]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
Quote:
I've considered editing together Plainview with Gangs of New York's Bill the Butcher, since no else can compete with Daniel Day-Lewis. Brando had a lot stronger character actors to play with back in his day.


Bill the Butcher was the one thing I liked about Gangs of New York.

I don't think I've seen anything Brando's done, honestly. Well, other than The Godfather.

Quote:
Anyway, Anderson's movies surprise me over time, because I tend to reverse my judgments on them. Boogie Nights seems to me far superior to Magnolia and TWBB now, but I was initially blown away by the latter two. Although, Punch-Drunk Love I loved when I first saw it, and it now seems to me one of the true masterpieces of the last 20 years. It simply is the best romantic comedy in I don't know how many years. Only Up in the Air is even comparable.


Strange. Boogie Nights and Magnolia, aggressive and ambitious as they are, are both extremely sappy movies when all's said and done. I think I'm going to watch them again now though, or at least before The Master comes out; it's been quite a while. What I think may be interesting going back through Anderson's portfolio to date, at this point, is the ongoing theme of substitute families, substitute father figures, orphans. Only PDL omits this theme, although Barry's family is certainly very dysfunctional. I find TWBB's iteration of the theme the most interesting and resonant. While I'd concede it's cryptic and less "explained" than relationships in BN and M, I find the relationship between Plainview and his "son" extremely interesting. It's very sad and thought-provoking. The deafness of the child resonates on a number of levels, and though one could make an argument for it as a metaphor, it avoids being a cheap, easy one.

I agree PDL's great, but Watson's character, while not a stereotype, is too much of a cipher as the love interest. While it's easy enough to understand Barry's desire for her, her reciprocal desire for Barry lacks context and makes little sense. I get that it's Barry's story and I suppose one could argue it doesn't matter, but it holds back the cumulative intended effect of the movie for me. This said, PDL has many merits. The sequence where Barry calls the sex line and the resultant story thread is particularly brilliant, and despite very limited screen time, Hoffman's mattress salesman is a wonderful creation and performance. And each time I see PDL (maybe three times now?) I seem to find a couple new little nuances to appreciate. Probably Anderson's tightest film.

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#599006 - 06/27/12 04:50 PM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7070
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
I'm going to put aside how awful McKee's taste in music is (think emo)

I agree.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
final scene from The Woman:

One of the cheesiest scenes McKee ever shot. Nice pick.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
and this tense moment from Boogie Nights:

I'd forgotten the Kubrick rips. Again, Anderson just backs out about 25-50% too much and lets the wide lens do all the work.

Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
McKee looks like an amateur.

When you select his lamest gore scene as an example, sure.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
the budget for BN was 15 million, and SC's was 32! (According to Wikipedia's respective pages for those films.) So much for that theory.

1997 Clinton economy dollars versus 2011 post-BushJr dollars. Special effects. Down-and-out stars looking for a comeback (Reynolds, Wahlberg) and personal friends (Reilly, Macy) versus some of the top movie stars working today (Gyllenhaal, Farmiga).
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If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#599011 - 06/28/12 12:15 AM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
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Quote:
1997 Clinton economy dollars versus 2011 post-BushJr dollars. Special effects. Down-and-out stars looking for a comeback (Reynolds, Wahlberg) and personal friends (Reilly, Macy) versus some of the top movie stars working today (Gyllenhaal, Farmiga).


Or another way of putting it is that you don't to like to admit that you were wrong. There Will Be Blood's budget was 25 millions. Keep trying, Allen.

Also, feel free to pick your own scene, rather than the supposedly tense climax of McKee's latest movie. Hell, try to find an equally shitty scene in one of Anderson's films on YouTube. Or try to find anything as accomplished as the Master trailer above. Go ahead. If McKee is such a master at camera work, it shouldn't be that hard to find examples. (At his best, he reminds me of Raimi's work.)

It takes so much more control to create real tension within a wide angle than the typical closeup and sound effect coming from off screen. No director could accomplish that by just letting the lens take over. What a load of nonsense. There's a reason why so many shitty horror films use rapid editing and closeups, and don't elicit any comparisons to Kubrick.
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#599013 - 06/28/12 01:55 AM Re: pt anderson's "the master" [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/00
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Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
There Will Be Blood's budget was 25 millions.

And? Special effects? Big stars? Also, still pre-economic crash.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
Also, feel free to pick your own scene, rather than the supposedly tense climax of McKee's latest movie.

Anything in May prior to the guy with the coathangers in his hair showing up. Anything from The Woods prior to the CGI kicking in (although the walking out of the estate at the end was pretty effective). The stair scene from Sick Girl. Some nice low-key stuff in Red.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
Hell, try to find an equally shitty scene in one of Anderson's films on YouTube.

You already posted one.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
If McKee is such a master at camera work, it shouldn't be that hard to find examples.

Again, I'm talking about direction, not camera work. That is a different job entirely.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
There's a reason why so many shitty horror films use rapid editing and closeups

I was thinking more of Baz Luhrmann as the polar opposite, but yeah.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
and don't elicit any comparisons to Kubrick.

Tracking in a symmetrical shot is what I was referring to. Kubrick created paintings on celluloid, which some people criticize him for. Anderson uses wide shots to keep from having to make decisions.
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"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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