The Raid 2 (2014)

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I finally got a chance to see Raid 2 last night. I had had a couple of false starts due to the presence of the kids, but I managed to clear the time. I loved Raid: Redemption, and had heard a lot of “the second one’s different and I didn’t like it as much” talk, which was useful as an expectation diluent. After the first half of the movie, I had basically the same opinion as the people I’d read – it might be a better movie-movie than the first one, but I liked the fist a lot better. The first half had a lot of good character work, but precious little fighting, kind of the speed of Drug War, a movie I liked OK but was ultimately disappointed by (though I don’t really know enough about the current status of the drug trade in Asia to understand it as a political document of which it was probably a lot better example).

But the second half was a different matter. This movie was the opposite of Kill Bill, a movie whose simple throughline/fast paced first half allows for an interesting psotictal downshifting that leads to a build-up of emotional content. There is a certain type of structure in action films that works this way, where all of the meeting with the goddess or atonement with the father stuff gets pushed to the end (kind of) making the real climax spiritual/emotional/intellectual. The “fight your way to the room where you will face the real test… some old (white) guy who realizes the thing you don’t that will either turn you into what you are fighting against, or prompt enlightenment. These moments vary from interestingly weird (Snowpiercer) to satisfying (Kill Bill) to Hunh? (Matrix 2). But I think, if you are going to do this, superhero comics work best because you can fight and have the cosmic discussion at the same time, especially in Starlin (see: Warlock vs. Magus).

What Raid 2 does is, in my mind, better – it takes the time to establish all the stakes so that the mostly-fighting last half is the emotional catharsis. The few (or even just one) words in the pause between beatdown scenes carries so much weight in this momentum-enhanced setting. So after its second half, I like it better than the first one because the first half paid off so completely in allowing the second to clear any exposition out of its way.

Another reason it works so well is that while the first Raid rips off walled city of Kowloon movies, the second rips off countless things, and combines them in a way that makes them sing. So, minimal spoilers ahead (it’s hard to spoil this kind of movie – you know where it is going – but you may want to be surprised at some of the specifics I’ll mention).

First, everyone cites the Departed (and Infernal Affairs, though I actually think the movie rips more from the Departed than the original) as a source for this, which is true, but I was surprised how much Godfather there was in it. Notwithstanding the betrayal within the family, here is an old crime boss trying to make peace after the eruption of bloodshed, a son not happy with it, and a spree of montage revenge set loose once the old man is dead. This is re-contextualized, but pretty hard to get past. The capitalism-destroys-honor theme is a major one in both films. Both movies have a scene with a guy slapping another guy repeatedly and absurdly.

The movie did a good job subsuming its video game influences. There are a lot of mini-boss to the final boss progressions in film nowadays, but this one earns it both through earlier character work and letting the minibosses have their own fights from which they emerge victorious against large groups of people who are not the hero. This represents a bad case of the inverse ninja effect - the hero fights a large group and can win, but so do the villains. So when these characters meet one on one, (or two on one) it heightens the stakes. The aluminum bat mini-boss is a total video game character, a flurry of action when fighting, bat butterflying everywhere, but slumped and dragging the bat if he has to move 10 feet to the next enemy. He is a live action character with a walk cycle. Oh, and and he carries his weapon like Pyramidhead.

There is the sensory deprived/locked in/shut off (deaf, essentially mute, emotionless affect, wearing sunglasses) female assassin in a pseudo schoolgirl outfit which comes from, like, everywhere, but which made me think most strongly of Frank Miller (and other Marvel Frank Miller-derived) comics (though Japanese movies have a lot of this – one, called Chocolate, is about an autistic girl who goes on a revenge spree that was sold here as “she is a special needs girl” – flurry of action - “who has a special need” - flurry of action - “ to kick some ass”). She wields two hammers (take that, Oldboy).

There was a Kubrick-like framing in a lot of the scenes (medium longs in interesting spaces with the characters center frame, lots of center framing in general, etc). There were longer takes with action happening only in a small part of the frame, often off center, which reminded me of some 70’s horror (e.g. Texas Chainsaw – is there a scarier scene than the murder with the camera pullling way back so you can barely see what is going on?).  The visual style was varied, and pretty interesting (the fight in the mud was terrific).

This movie rips off so much, and is so good. If the beginning seems slow, stick with it… it’s worth it.

Lynch History part I

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I wanted to talk about the Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me deleted scenes, especially given this excellent write-up that, as I approve of, talks is less about the scenes themselves than their effect on Peak’s place in the world, and what late Lynch is about. This is tumblr, though, and I felt like it would be sweet for me to encapsulate my own “Lynch history” first in order to contextualize this stuff personally.

My first Lynch movie was the Elephant Man, which was big talk in the gifted sector of my high-knifing-ratio, interrogation room having, cart driving/truncheon wielding discipline officer presided over middle school. I saw it on Channel M, a pre-cable cable premium channel, and remember it purely as social capital (I would sometimes lie about having seen movies or TV to increase my cred, but I saw this one… really!). I later saw Dune and, like the rest of my generation, was meh on it despite getting 3 versions of the comic adaptation by Sienkiewicz (2 issue limited series, Marvel Super Special magazine, and the Pengiun book) and being really taken by several scenes, which we would re-enact or quote (the Sting-Kyle fight - “I WILL kill him!”). I read the book later, but would sort of pretend I read it before (“there was no Catholic Orange Bible? I was shocked!”). I really had no Lynch awareness except that he was the guy who did Dune after passing on Jedi.

I saw Blue Velvet my Freshmen year in college, I think at the University theater for 1 buck (the same theater where I saw Prince: Sign ‘O’ the Times in an audience that did not sit down, but kept on jammin’) and, amazingly, have the same opinion I do now – a few scenes ranking in the top 10 of all 80’s movie scenes, a harrowing descent of a last bit (OK almost half) that is not entirely pleasant but impossible to dismiss, and an overall movie that does not completely work. I saw it 1987, at least twice in the 90’s, and 3 months ago, and I had the same feeling each time. I have a feeling a smart person could edit Blue Velvet and Straight Story together and make a better movie than either.

I saw Eraserhead on a 19 inch Zenith really, really drunk. I was never a guy who hated pretentiousness – I defended it a lot, argued that Joyce wasn’t a complete waste of time in high school English, settled in on Moby Dick as my favorite book in 8th grade – but I found Eraserhead, above all, funny. The Issac Asimov chick (as I called her for 20 years) send me into unrecoverable gales of laughter when she tap danced over raining embryos. I have very positive experiences of this movie, but maybe not the ones that are appropriate to the tone of the work.

I saw Twin Peaks first during that great lost period in life people seem to have where the naive caterpillar has to form an asshole chrysalis to become something more. You wouldn’t want to go back to the caterpillar but man, the cocoon was really embarrassing. I watched the Twin Peaks Pilot more concerned with a girl on my lap I barely knew, with my future wife in the room. So my first watch of the whole show is kind of a blur of transition, with a lot of missing episodes.

I had two Lynch conversion events. The first was seeing Wild at Heart in 1990 at the Canal Place at the end of Canal Street in sweet home New Orleans (they had flip up desks including lefty ones in the seats). This is when the Lynch thing first completely connected for me. People deride this movie, and I would defend it to this day as a better Lynch movie than Blue Velvet, though it doesn’t match the peak scene (“candy colored clown they call the sandman…”). It is way more quotable, other than Hopper has better performances, and is a less simplistic narrative. I need to talk about this more in a later post, but Blue Velvet is the Rocky Horror Picture show if Janet stayed behind, and Brad found Frankenfurter had a woman in coercive sexual slavery, while Wild at Heart is about the velocity of youth and the nature of the relationship to the world when the momentum starts to fade. I pick the later.

This locked me into focus on Lynch as one of the five or so things I could afford to be fixated on at one time. The second conversion was more life changing. I guess I’ll bump this to a second post.

jeremyloverobsessedmoi

jeremyloverobsessedmoi:

redantsunderneath:

The 5 original members of Duran Duran, relocated to the US, solve crimes in the high 80’s between concerts and recording. The tone is realistic camp – signifiers from Saturday morning shows and band fantasies like A Hard Days Night exist in a more grounded (but not gritty) universe, where there…

You spelt nick’s name wrong it’s RHODES not roades also it’s ROGER Taylor not RODGER Taylor

Thanks!  I wrote that stuff in a mad rush did a bad job with some basic stuff.  (I also spelled DEBBIE as DEBBI in part  of the script).  All has been corrected.  Please don’t otherwise check for accuracy though… Season three will have a wedding between one of the GoGos and one of Duran Duran in space, which has not been proven to have occurred.

THE GO-GOs, PUNK PIs - THE SPINOFF WILL BE BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL

At the risk of being considered insane, I worked out the Go-Gos character relationships for when they show up.

BELINDA Carlisle– aristocratic goddess - analog SIMON - love interest JOHN. She feels responsible for the group, and doing what needs to be done. American upper class sense of entitlement, talks like Storm in the 90’s X-Men cartoon. May have weather powers, we are not sure. Her interest in JOHN is that her penetrating gaze sees more in him than he sees in himself. His interest in her is that of a person who doesn’t know who they are recognizing a goddess-like purifying force of nature that can blow away the artifice. She is beyond his power and he must love her. She has mutual respect with but incompletely understands JANE (she sees those under her as children, JANE sees them as slaves), feels maternal to GINA, has class anxiety with KATHY (will she accept her?), and needs to learn to trust CHARLOTTE.

JANE Wiedlin – Pixie-like but secretly dominatrix weirdo-genius (female mad scientist) - analog NICK/ROGER - love interest ANDY. Seems demure, and ultra feminine, but requires submission, and may insist on addressing someone as slave. A lilting come hither is likely to turn into a hooked finger somewhere painful. Class-status unknown. Her interest in ANDY is in the most masculine territory to conquer. His interest in her seems like a Moose and Madge thing, but turns into him liking having to say yes mam (he’s functionally adolescent, but seems to like being taught manners). She finds BELINDA’s self seriousness funny but follows her without question, tries to encourage KATHY to more feminine, has an abrasive admiration for CHARLOTTE, and finds GINA scary, not because of her punk exterior but for her vulnerability, which JANE cannot allow herself.

KATHY Valentine – shitkicker, juke joint chick - analog ANDY - love interest NICK. She is both proud and ashamed of her roots in the rural south (class issues). Grew up poor. Likes NICK because he is competent and non judgmental. She senses he is upper crusty and wants to resent him, but he does not have class issues – he would be happier as a mechanic – and sees her without that any devaluation. She is everything he ever wanted – someone real. KATHY has class tensions with BELINDA who is kind of a bitch, feels like JANE is trying to big-sister make-over her (which she can’t admit to liking), is fascinated by CHARLOTTE’s competence, and is closest to GINA who understands the conflict between inside and outside selves.

CHARLOTTE Caffey – efficient (short shirt, long jacket), competent, suffers fools with a sigh - analog ROGER/NICK - love interest SIMON. Lower middle class, overachiever. Likes SIMON because life lived as a drive for progress starts to loose meaning, and he’s a guy who is a rock of meaning. He likes her because she knows who she is and what she wants, and what you see is what you get. No nonsense is his type. She wants to earn BELINDA’s approval, is jealous of KATHY’s earthiness, and ignores/dismisses GINA when she’s being pissy GINA, but loves her just the same (she is still the only one who calls GINA on her shit).

GINA Schock – prickly punk who everyone sees right through and loves for her marshmallow core - analog JOHN (all front) - love interest ROGER. As irritable as she can be, she is the heart of the band. Has had more trauma in her life than even KATHY. She likes ROGER because he is not trying to get anything from her, and what you see is what you get (and smart turns her on). She just likes him for what he is. ROGER sees her as existing in the extremes he can’t. She is beyond him, and normally things aren’t beyond him. She idolizes BELINDA, is stand offish with JANE, depends on KATHY, and thinks CHARLOTTE hates her, except when the tears are going when she says the best things.

DURAN DURAN, SYNTH ROCK DETECTIVES – PILOT, PART 2

INTERIOR – NIGHT – OFFICE, DISHEVELED

SIMON:

It looks like a burglary gone bad, but something doesn’t sit right. It was a tough break in for not much, so the robbery idea requires an expert criminal to rob a stupid target. The tossing looks pretty perfunctory, as well.

NICK:

Yeah, that cabinet has a shit lock I can break with my pinky, but they really destroyed the stapler. Maybe they hate Swingline?

ROGER:

They also left a few things of obvious value on the walls. That’s the best conditioned Amazing Fantasy 15 I’ve ever seen – 2500 American dollars easy, maybe 3000. Any thief worth his lockpick would zero in on that.

The boys look around, sifting through room. Except JOHN, who moves to the doorway to talk to the guard and ANDY who cracks open some scotch on the sideboard.

NICK:

Hmmm, no kid pictures, but we know he has a son. His ex-wife’s a piece of work, so understandable why she’s nowhere to be seen.

ROGER

Here, in the rubbish… A Lucite block containing a share of stock for Vital Empire. They haven’t gone public yet, but this paperweight’s worth a lot to wind up in the bin.

SIMON:

Not surprising – they represent everything he hated about the big business of concerts.

JOHN:

Guard says the security tapes were wiped. Our man knew where they were.

ANDY:

This is good stuff (sniffs glass). Really good, like (takes sip). Got to be a gift – Greame would never spend like this.

SIMON pauses to look out the window. The rest look to him.

JOHN:

What now, director?

SIMON:

I know who we need to talk to.

EXTERIOR – NIGHT – DERELICT BAR

The lads approach a scummy dive bar, no name visible. The exterior is positively apocalyptic, and JOHN hikes his coat to avoid dragging it on the ground. JOHN carries a cane, NICK wears a wicked set of salmon colored pumps, and SIMON has a bandanna around one leg. They enter the bar.

INTERIOR – NIGHT – SHITTY BAR

A bunch or reprobates of varying lethality are spilled around the place. Some look up intently, others ignore the intrusion.

SIMON:

We need to see the boss.

A group of the six most interested get up, and face the intruders.

REPROBATE 1:

Who the hell are you. The boss doesn’t come running every time a bunch of, what do you foreign fuckers call them?, Nancy boys come around.

NICK (pulling out and opening a telescoping truncheon):

Well, more Sid than Nancy, actually.

SIMON:

Andy?

ANDY (rushing forward):

Ahead of you, captain.

ANDY tackles the largest 2 of the 6 to the ground, and starts wailing. He eventually pounds them into submission.

ANDY:

Fucking twits!

Intercut with:

REPROBATE 1 engages SIMON, who circles him like a boxer, hands up and close.

SIMON:

I’m trained, you may want to wave off and live to fight another day.

REPROBATE 1:

Trained? By who?

SIMON:

Can’t say. That’s between me and the Queen.

After a few exchanges he grabs the bandanna off his leg and converts the opponent’s lunge into a hold, getting the cloth round his throat. He chokes him unconscious. Intercut with:

NICK is engaged and, matador like, dodges and strikes expertly several times. In one feint, the truncheon is knocked from his hand, as the opponent grabs him. NICK kicks one of his fine pumps into his hand.

NICK:

You irritating little insect…

NICK knocks him unconscious with the shoe.

NICK:

Don’t fuck with the keyboardist.

Intercut with:

JOHN is trying to avoid the fight, hands out.

JOHN:

Look, mate. We came to talk (avoids swing). This is pointless (avoids another). Oh, Bollocks.

JOHN tosses the cane farther up in his hand and knocks the thug senseless with one blow to the temple.

JOHN (looks at cane):

Affectation, my arse.

Intercut with:

ROGER is in trouble. He is trying to use Judo which he a relative novice at, but the thug is a real grunt fighter, and won’t go down. He gets ROGER in a corner.

THUG:

I’m going to crush you, dork.

A pop, and the thug’s face goes slack. He falls to reveal JOHN, cane post swing.

JOHN:

He couldn’t do better than dork?

The others in the bar, more than in the first wave, get to their feet and start moving in. DD all get up and move towards the center of the room, backs to each other. The throng moves in.

OFF SCREEN VOICE:

Stop, let them be.

SIMON, looking to the back of the bar:

Deb.

In the doorway, in a perfect white one piece dress is DEBBIE Harry.

DEBBIE (lopsided grin forming):

How are you, boys?

DURAN DURAN, SYNTH ROCK DETECTIVES - PILOT

INTERIOR – DAY – ART SCHOOL CAFETERIA, ENGLAND, LATE 70’S.

A few people mill around or are seated at tables. There is a corkboard with some flyers posted.

SIMON and NICK, cusp of adulthood, sit at a table. SIMON is physically big, with friendly rounded features, and is dressed in shabby sheik punk attire. He is rubbing his head in hands, restless and bored. NICK is thin, and dressed more stylishly with makeup on. He is the tech guy and problem solver. He is half intent on using a tool from a Swiss army knife to fix a belt chain, but it does not require his full attention.

SIMON:

So, where are we with the name?

NICK:

Don’t you think we should form the band first? We need more than a keyboard player and a guy who likes to hum.

SIMON:

I don’t see any drummers around here, do you? A brilliant name would go a long way…

NICK:

How about “Urge to Void?” Sounds rather ace, a bit dark, and it’s got the hidden joke, in that it means we need to pee.

SIMON:

NICK:

No go? Don’t like the jokey ones? Well, i think we need a reference name from something we’re both into, so science and technology is out, (Luddite) and fashion would be too alienating. I guess there’s movies? We need something arty yet shabby. Hold on…

A commotion has risen by the board as a new person has entered pinning something up. NICK throws SIMON the belt chain, and SIMON starts to fasten it while rising. SIMON and NICK wade into the crowd.

POSTER:

…so no one has seen her since she got up in the middle of the midnight showing of Barbarella to go for a smoke out back. Her boyfriend’s beside himself.

SIMON and NICK exchange a meaningful look, as the credit music starts - “Is there something I should know”

INTERIOR – NIGHT – DURAN DURAN CONCERT, AMERICA

CAPTION:

1985

Performance and opening credits roll together. The band walks off stage as they end.

INTERIOR – NIGHT - BACKSTAGE

ROGER, follows JOHN, chatting, while ANDY, throws his arm joyously around a mildly uncomfortable NICK. SIMON leads the way alone.

ROGER:

So are you partying, then. If you stay in we could play a round of…

JOHN:

Bloody yell yes I’m partying. The girls… I’m good, but after a set like that, you’ll have to scrape them off. You should take advantage.

ROGER:

Nah, I think I’ll read for a bit.

ANDY:

WHOOOO!

NICK:

Yes, whoooo, of course. You know your G-string is 3 hz flat? Do you know how many cents that is? A lot.

ANDY:

Cents? This is Rock and Roll, fuck tuning. I love you mate! <kiss>

JOHN:

You two, get a room.

ANDY:

Fuck you John, fuck your whole fucking existence.

ROGER:

John, exploiting gay panic is no good, man. We’re going to have loads of issues as it is, what with the make-up and the clothes, of the uneducated referring to us a homosexuals. Honesty behooves us to deny this while being quite clear that we are just fine with anyone’s sexual preference. Its a tough sell already, especially in Birmingham. We need to remain above reproach, even in our tossed off bon mots.

NICK:

You’re overthinking, Rodger.

ANDY:

Which Birmingham?

ROGER:

Both… wait.

SIMON, who got a few meters ahead, is stopped, talking seriously to a small group of people, one a cop. The group slows up, and SIMON turns around to address them.

SIMON: Greame is dead, murdered.

Shocked silence, except for

ANDY: Bollocks, lets go fuck somebody up!

SIMON: No, let’s get to work.  But save the enthusiasm.  I’m guessing we’ll need it.

EXTERIOR – NIGHT – ARENA PARKING LOT

The lot is pretty clear except for a mid 70’s Buick station wagon, parked far out, painted two tone in the pink and green of the first sex pistols album, with “enigma engine” painted on the side in red white and blue flash paint letters, the stencils of which don’t seem to be from the same set, and are off register. They walk towards it in silence.

INTERIOR – STATION WAGON – HIGHWAY

SIMON drives, NICK shotgun, ANDY and JOHN as far apart as possible behind, and ROGER in the rear facing seat in the back.  Man, 70’s Buick station wagons.  The silence is broken by

NICK:

I always thought “whodunnit wagon” worked better.

ROGER:

You were outvoted. The alliteration doesn’t work, given that wh is a different phoneme. Not to mention, wagon is too on the nose, and the abstraction of engine…

NICK (playing with glove compartment)

…Is also too nosey given that there would be confusion with the thig that’s already called that.

ROGER:

I think the WWII code breaker synchronicity is a plus. Adds resonance for people who know history, and is neutral for the rest.

NICK:

Shut up.

SIMON:

Just stop, we need to focus. Greame was a great concert promoter, but he was also a decent person, and our friend. We owe it to him to solve this case.

JOHN:

What happened?

INTERIOR – NIGHT – OFFICE, DISHEVELED

SIMON:

It looks like a burglary gone bad, but something doesn’t sit right. It was a tough break in for not much, so the robbery idea requires an expert criminal to rob a stupid target. The tossing looks pretty perfunctory, as well.

NICK:

Yeah, that cabinet has a shit lock I can break with my pinkey, but they really destroyed the stapler. Maybe they hate Swingline?

DURAN DURAN, SYNTH ROCK DETECTIVES, TREATMENT

The 5 original members of Duran Duran, relocated to the US, solve crimes in the high 80’s between concerts and recording. The tone is realistic camp – signifiers from Saturday morning shows and band fantasies like A Hard Days Night exist in a more grounded (but not gritty) universe, where there are consequences, and the bad guys may be in a conspiracy to forge music publishing, recording, ticketing and concert monopolies that cut out the artist! As if! As such, the first season will function as a corruption exposure arc, where the week to week crimes may make way for a larger thing. Our boys need to expose the truth!

SIMON Le Bon: Solid leader, sturdy frame, maybe a bit stocky (him splitting his pants will be a recurring gag). Think Jeremy Renner in stylish brown leather pants 2 sizes too small because he just knows he’s going to lose 5 pounds this week. The soul of the group, always insists in doing the right thing. Disarming sense of humor, but would die for what he believes in. The first into the fray unless ANDY gets worked up first. Upper middle class background, art school educated. NICK is his real confidant, has parental irritation over ANDY, likes ROGER quite a bit, and understands JOHN more than the others do.

NICK Rhodes – Simon’s oldest friend. Bowie-like figure, if Bowie was more like a British Dr. Zarkov in Flash Gordon (not a stretch). Thin, sweater and eyeliner wearing, gagety, practically smart, and the most classically fashionable (though all but ANDY are pretty fashionable). Can fix things, has practical Holmesian knowledge that is good at a scene. Upper class, art school educated, kind of bummed he wasn’t an engineer. Has SIMON’s back over all, mild friction with ROGER over his pedantry but feels kind of paternal to him, has a kind of jealousy about ANDY’s working class background which causes him to alternately admonish him and be his biggest supporter, and is sort of stand-offish with JOHN (civil but cool relationship).

ANDY Taylor – The loose cannon, and a total meathead with a heart of gold. May quit and come back. Overly concerned with rock and roll and partying. Despite being thin skinned and quitting, intensely loyal to the group, and always ready to bust some heads. Probably a bit insane. Think Sid and Nancy era Gary Oldman cast as Wolverine. Lower class upbringing, dropout. Bristles due to SIMON’s leadership (but ultimately wants to be “aimed” at a problem, so respects him), considers NICK’s bitchiness funny and loves him, does not understand ROGER at all, but he’s so nonthreatening that he wants him under his wing, and he wants to fucking kill JOHN always.

JOHN Taylor – The “faceman,” a bit oily and smarmy in his charisma (but it works). Is there a young british McConauhey who looks like Liam from One Direction? Dresses to get in girl’s pants, lower middle class, hiding insecurities, but smooth. Feels like a fake, doesn’t feel like he knows who he is. Doesn’t realize his value in “talking” information out of people. Tetters between eye-rolling and boring, but those eyes! Close to ROGER, possibly due to the fact that he acts like JOHN feels on the inside (retiring) and ROGER looks up to him, which probably fuels ANDY’s hatred, which JOHN feels the need to strike back at, a civil relationship with NICK (which JOHN would like to be closer as he looks up to him secretly, but which he can’t quite do as he has trouble being a bro), and SIMON makes him feel valued the way the others don’t

ROGER Taylor – Shy intellectual, a touch of the Aspergers affect. Who is early 90’s Johnny Depp now? Cast him. Seems beyond his background (what class is he? A mystery for later) and dresses like someone who idolizes a “cooler” time (think early Frank Sinatra). Uses big words, knows a lot, but sometimes guileless. Closest to JOHN who he has latched onto as he recognizes someone who can teach him what he finds missing, likes NICK, and hardly notices being “corrected” about the practicality of his knowledge, finds SIMON comforting, and does not know what to make of (is slightly scared of) ANDY.

The group will meet others. 80’s pop stars should often be guests, but the GoGos (episode 7) will be very important and could be spun off. Thinking about Scritti Politti as recurring antagonists (Kajagooogoo are great friends and allies), but they need to take down U2 at some point. That’s a given.

The first season will follow a few unrelated seeming crimes, some of which will coalesce midseason into a conspiracy to create a Clear Channel-like stranglehold over the concert industry. The sequence will begin with the murder of a promoter everyone likes, the “last of the good ones.” Flashbacks will sometimes be used to illuminate the origins of the band.

twiststreet
twiststreet:

Coherence (2014):  Haha, I really liked this movie I rented off iTunes— it’s a no budget science fiction thriller shot on Canon 5ds and filmed in 5 days, shot in sequence, about the events of a dinner party on an unusual night.  And… that’s really all I can say about it without spoiling it.  If you want to see this, definitely don’t read anything about the plot/premise— anything.  Feels like the only way to see it.
It’s got no stars— everyone’s half-recognizable from somewhere?, but the only person I could actually identify without checking imdb was Nicholas Brendan, i.e. Xander from the Buffy show (who’s playing a recovering alcoholic— I think he had a substance problem in real life that derailed him there for a little while(?), so I guess there was probably an added layer there for him.  Plus, there’s this whole WB joke in the movie with him that I really quite like).  
And I don’t know— it’s not Primer, Primer’s harder and more cryptic, but it’s got that Primer thing of being a movie you keep up with, more than one you know where it’s going after a half hour…?  Not the best-est characters ever maybe, since there’s this whole thing going on, but fun little idea-puzzle movie— movie where the fun is watching characters figure things out and have ideas how to deal with things and stuff.  The director’s a storyboard artist for Gore Verbinski— I heard about the movie on the radio; KCRW was talking about it in a round-up of recent indie-sci-fi brain teaser movies, this movie and that new Elizabeth Moss - Duplass movie.  I don’t know— I thought it was a fun little movie.
Listen to this, from an interview with the director; kind of neat how they filmed it:

instead of a script I had my own 12-page treatment that I spent about a year working on. It outlined all of the twists, and reveals, and character arcs and pieces of the puzzle that needed to happen scene-by-scene. But each day, instead of getting a script, the actors would get a page of notes for their individual character, whether it was a backstory or information about their motivations. They would come prepared for their character only. They had no idea what the other characters received, so each night there were completely real reactions, and surprises and responses. […] [P]eople have told me that their best viewing is their third viewing.

A Most Wanted Man (2014):  Last Philip Seymour Hoffman movie.  Pretty damn watchable just for that alone.  Not super into the director though— and there was a lot that I don’t know that I felt worked, especially.  But it builds to a pretty good ending.  The ending worked enough that I gotta say something went right.
A lot of scenes of Rachel McAdams riding a bicycle away from the camera though!  Which considering how serious the movie was, came off really strange.  I mean I’m assuming it was intentional because “Rachel McAdams rides away on a bicycle”— I like that for lots and lots of unhealthy reasons, and I assume other men, women and children do too. We’re all just human beings.  That could be a category on Facebook.  But it’s this super-serious John Le Carre spy movie about the frustrations of modern spywork in Germany, that like, some director was like “Yeah, yeah, exploring the nature of betrayal and trust in the modern war of terror— fine, great— hey can you— can you pedal faster?"  What?  Inappropriate!  Greatly appreciated but inappropriate!
Philip Seymour Hoffman, though. Sad.  It’s just a motherfucker.  Just watching him get to be righteously angry at people alone— just that one emotion!  When he’s angry at someone in this movie, you know right away they’re a piece of crap and he’s smarter than them— I don’t know how that works, the whole acting thing, but it’s fun to watch.  So much fun to watch him work. There were parts of this movie I had mixed feelings about (pretty much all the non-Hoffman non-bicycle bits, really), but I’m at least glad something like this was his last movie, and not, like, Welcome to Mooseport or whatever…

So, similar to my review ( http://redantsunderneath.tumblr.com/post/94273773451/coherence-2013 ), just accentuating the positives instead of beating up on the negatives. 

twiststreet:

Coherence (2014):  Haha, I really liked this movie I rented off iTunes— it’s a no budget science fiction thriller shot on Canon 5ds and filmed in 5 days, shot in sequence, about the events of a dinner party on an unusual night.  And… that’s really all I can say about it without spoiling it.  If you want to see this, definitely don’t read anything about the plot/premise— anything.  Feels like the only way to see it.

It’s got no stars— everyone’s half-recognizable from somewhere?, but the only person I could actually identify without checking imdb was Nicholas Brendan, i.e. Xander from the Buffy show (who’s playing a recovering alcoholic— I think he had a substance problem in real life that derailed him there for a little while(?), so I guess there was probably an added layer there for him.  Plus, there’s this whole WB joke in the movie with him that I really quite like).  

And I don’t know— it’s not Primer, Primer’s harder and more cryptic, but it’s got that Primer thing of being a movie you keep up with, more than one you know where it’s going after a half hour…?  Not the best-est characters ever maybe, since there’s this whole thing going on, but fun little idea-puzzle movie— movie where the fun is watching characters figure things out and have ideas how to deal with things and stuff.  The director’s a storyboard artist for Gore Verbinski— I heard about the movie on the radio; KCRW was talking about it in a round-up of recent indie-sci-fi brain teaser movies, this movie and that new Elizabeth Moss - Duplass movie.  I don’t know— I thought it was a fun little movie.

Listen to this, from an interview with the director; kind of neat how they filmed it:

instead of a script I had my own 12-page treatment that I spent about a year working on. It outlined all of the twists, and reveals, and character arcs and pieces of the puzzle that needed to happen scene-by-scene. But each day, instead of getting a script, the actors would get a page of notes for their individual character, whether it was a backstory or information about their motivations. They would come prepared for their character only. They had no idea what the other characters received, so each night there were completely real reactions, and surprises and responses. […] [P]eople have told me that their best viewing is their third viewing.

A Most Wanted Man (2014):  Last Philip Seymour Hoffman movie.  Pretty damn watchable just for that alone.  Not super into the director though— and there was a lot that I don’t know that I felt worked, especially.  But it builds to a pretty good ending.  The ending worked enough that I gotta say something went right.

A lot of scenes of Rachel McAdams riding a bicycle away from the camera though!  Which considering how serious the movie was, came off really strange.  I mean I’m assuming it was intentional because “Rachel McAdams rides away on a bicycle”— I like that for lots and lots of unhealthy reasons, and I assume other men, women and children do too. We’re all just human beings.  That could be a category on Facebook.  But it’s this super-serious John Le Carre spy movie about the frustrations of modern spywork in Germany, that like, some director was like “Yeah, yeah, exploring the nature of betrayal and trust in the modern war of terror— fine, great— hey can you— can you pedal faster?"  What?  Inappropriate!  Greatly appreciated but inappropriate!

Philip Seymour Hoffman, though. Sad.  It’s just a motherfucker.  Just watching him get to be righteously angry at people alone— just that one emotion!  When he’s angry at someone in this movie, you know right away they’re a piece of crap and he’s smarter than them— I don’t know how that works, the whole acting thing, but it’s fun to watch.  So much fun to watch him work. There were parts of this movie I had mixed feelings about (pretty much all the non-Hoffman non-bicycle bits, really), but I’m at least glad something like this was his last movie, and not, like, Welcome to Mooseport or whatever…

So, similar to my review ( http://redantsunderneath.tumblr.com/post/94273773451/coherence-2013 ), just accentuating the positives instead of beating up on the negatives. 

Coherence (2013)

image

I watched this last night and had mixed feelings about it. Base info - it is a movie about a dinner party attended by 4 couples “with history” the night of an unusual astronomical anomaly during which their interpersonal issues start to surface just as odd things start to happen (I’ll stop there).  I like this type of movie: it’s what Netflix would call “mindbending” and TV Tropes calls “mindfuck,” which is about as precise as I should get this side of a spoiler warning (it is better to go in cold). The set-up is kind of cool and the way they use certain physical plot devices and statistical ideas in the movie really does work to give you that cool prickly-hair stimulation that good pull-the-rug-out mysteries do.

As a film, though, the thing has some issues. This is a hybrid between 2 types of movies: the dinner party drama where relationship issues come to the surface and another type that I don’t want to get specific about until after the jump. The first type is almost a cliché to use in hybrid movies when second movie type gets its power from being hidden-then-revealed (think Cloverfield or even This is the End). I kind of blame Lost – a party of people with history is a great shortcut to approximate Lost’s more sprawling relationship/history complex allowing them to quickly set us up for the dawning “guys, where are we?” goosepimple whammy. The problem here is that, though the acting may be fine, it is difficult to tell because the decision to improv the whole movie makes almost every relationship defining moment dramatically saggy.

So the big issue is that we need to be invested in the relationship drama to make the movie work and we aren’t. You’d blame the writing as not tight and evocative enough if you didn’t know the way the movie was done (the actors got treatments of the day’s scene and they just worked out their dialogue). So the issue is, while none of the actors are bad, none of them are out of the box charismatic enough to pull us into such an inert ball of shared history. Also, as a byproduct, I would not call any of the characters likable except possible the main character just a little (out of pity).

The movie, at least for me, had a second problem that was a bit debilitating – if you get any kind of idea at all what this movie is about beforehand, you will read things into the movie’s opening that will make you think you are in a more interesting movie. So you will wind up being disappointed by expectations generated by the movie itself – there was a better movie there that you could imagine that the movie itself can’t live up to. Compare this to, say, Timecrimes (2007 – also see that movie cold) the okay-I-guess but actually kind of shitty Spanish mindbender that nonetheless continues to seem more interesting and uexpected as it goes along.

So, Spoilers after the jump – if you like movies that mess with your head, you will like this enough, so stop reading and see it. A good comparison point is a not as good Primer (2004 – jeez, has it been that long) with a female lead if you replace the science (which fascinated me) with relationship drama (which bored me) and make the “puzzle” part a lot less interesting. I’d say see it cold, but turn off your puzzle solving brain for the first viewing (to prevent thinking yourself out of liking the movie).

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