XIXAX Film Forum

Film Discussion => This Year In Film => Topic started by: RegularKarate on March 15, 2017, 10:58:47 AM

Title: Baby Driver
Post by: RegularKarate on March 15, 2017, 10:58:47 AM
(https://static.movietele.it/files/images/2017/03/baby-driver.jpg)
Baby Driver
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Written and Directed by Edgar Wright

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9YZw_X5UzQ

I saw this on Saturday at SXSW. While it's not without its flaws, it's a very inspired movie.
99% of the movie is choreographed to match what is playing on the main character's iPod. The first ten minutes of the movie are pretty mindblowing. It slows just a little before the finale and the love interest doesn't really get too fleshed out, but this is something I think I'll end up re-watching over and over.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Ravi on June 13, 2017, 11:30:03 AM
This isn't quite at the level of Hot Fuzz, but it's a lot of fun nonetheless. Loved the way the action was choreographed to the music, and the use of music throughout was great.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on June 28, 2017, 11:27:31 AM
i mean if it's a lot of fun it sounds better than Hot Fuzz to me. Scott Pilgrim is the high bar, which i'm not alone in thinking.

this is open and i'll be going tomorrow. very excited. this and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are my summer movies.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: polkablues on June 28, 2017, 05:59:57 PM
Definitely going to try and see it this weekend. In the meantime, one of the reviews I read led me to this music video Edgar Wright directed a few years back, which definitely shares a splatter of DNA with the movie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfrcZsKcVxU
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: modage on June 28, 2017, 10:17:20 PM
This is pretty good and fun and if you ignore all the fanboy reviews and you'll probably have fun. But as someone who has been following Wright's career for 13 years now, I have to say that his films have never quite caught up to his talent. Shaun still stands as his best by a mile, and as his skills behind the camera have grown he's been increasingly hamstrung by his films, particularly the Pegg collaborations. World's End was the low point of their collaboration's diminishing returns as Wright is ready to cut loose behind the camera and choreograph insane fight sequences, but without a script or characters that support them. (Why does Nick Frost know how to fight like Neo again?)

Scott Pilgrim I have different issues with, it seemed like a perfect match for his sensibilities and visually it's still pretty great, inventive, etc. but narratively and as a comedy I have a hard time with it. As a fan of the books, I've returned to the film 4 or 5 times over the years just to LOOK at (and see if I've softened on it) but usually end up coming away with the same criticisms. Mainly that Cera isn't miscast per se, but just plays the role wrong (he's too timid for the character) and that the stylization makes it fun to watch but saps the drama and comedy away from the "normal" scenes when they should've been presented more or less as real world stuff and then the fights break out into Wright-land fantasia. Anywho.

Baby Driver is a great concept for Wright to cut loose on. He's clearly grown as a filmmaker over the years, learning to less obviously ape from Bay with quotation marks and just start to follow his own muse. But the film has some issues that hold it back from greatness for me.

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.

- If you're shooting a movie whose main attribute is the style of the piece, for the love of God, do not shoot in fucking Atlanta. It's booooring as fuck. Wright wrote for LA, which looks great obvy in Drive and The Driver. Baby Driver starts at a major handicap right off the bat, because Atlanta (unless you're making a movie or show ABOUT Atlanta, like Atlanta) is boring as fuck. See: all Marvel films from the last 5 years.

- The idea that the hero has to listen to music in order to drown out the hum in his ears caused by the accident that killed his parents is a great setup. Unfortunately the movie does nothing with it dramatically. The film is wall-to-wall music, which sounds cool except almost none of the sequences rise to the occasion of being worthy of the song it's scored to. Because it's just EVERYWHERE, it all blends together into something that has no peaks and valleys. There is one cute moment where he gets into a new car and can't start driving until he finds a good song on the radio which does the most with this idea. It's fun. But it doesn't have any real dramatic function in the film. And thus, the hero essentially has no arc. Which makes it kinda boring.

DIGRESSION: Here's my small rewrite that solves this issue: he has to drown out the hum in his ear because whenever he isn't listening to music he's forced to focus on the ringing, which always brings him back to his mothers death which he feels partly responsible for (maybe they got in a fight or he distracted her with his ipod music mashups or something). So it is essentially his way of not dealing with the trauma of his childhood. And for all the chases in the film, where he must be completely focused, each one is scored to a song. However something happens to his ipod for the final getaway, it gets broken or something, and he has to do the entire chase in silence, and the film takes away the score, both differentiating it and upping the dramatic stakes. You can even throw in some flashes to his mom for drama. And then once he completes it he learns that he doesn't NEED the music, he can face his past. Right? Why did something like this not happen?


- The ending is unearned. Instead of coming up with a plan to outsmart the other dudes, why does he just go along with it and then go to prison? I get it's the unexpected thing to do, but again, dramatically it doesn't really make sense. He's been blackmailed by these dudes essentially that he has to be their driver, so why not have some agency and fuck them over instead of just turning yourself in for something that you weren't entirely responsible for?

- Lily James is cute and charming and unfortunately a placeholder for where an actual character should go. She doesn't even have a tragic/sympathetic backstory to explain why the hell she is cute, single and waiting for this weirdo to take her out of Atlanta.

- Kevin Spacey, we've seen him do this before. Ditto Jamie Foxx. And why was Hamm the last man standing and Spacey turns around to not be a prick? The law of action movies says "have a good bad guy that we want to see get dead." Not sure why they pulled the switch and made it Hamm, someone he had no beef with, and not Spacey, who was manipulating him into doing this in the first place. It's FINE. It's just odd.

- He makes these little mix tapes sampling people and then again, the film does nothing with it! Why isn't the entire film him driving around to these fucking remixes that he's made himself? Would've made the entire score memorable instead of just an oldies jukebox and dramatically tied the tapes back into the score. Also: the fact that this movie trots out Beck's Debra as a major plotpoint and then gives them a weak-ass half-scene to score it to, is a major fail. #RescueDebra

- The name reveal is kinda an eye-roll. (Why was he telling unrelated waitresses his bank robber code name instead of his real name?)

There's more I'm sure. But I went in wanting to love it. And so did the theatre full of 200+ nerds who paid $28 a ticket to see Kid Koala spin beforehand and just wanted to have a blast, but the theatre was pretty quiet. Which is a shame, because you want a movie like this to be full of fuck yeah moments that make you raise your fist and cheer, but it just couldn't quite engineer them.

Again, it's not a bad movie, it's still prob Wright's 2nd or 3rd best movie, but it's just a disappointment because you know he SHOULD be making great movies instead of pretty good ones.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on June 29, 2017, 02:47:41 AM
it's not that i'm necessarily going to ignore all that, it's just not how i think about movies. i don't want to be an oppositional perspective so much as a different perspective. glad the movie evoked big responses from you!
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on June 29, 2017, 06:41:44 PM
second of all he's brave for throwing himself into the pit of vipers known as nerd land.

first of all it's such a clear progression. Scott Pilgrim was a clear progression, which is what made The World's End more frustrating (since it wasn't), but he's back on track. it was just phenomenal to me in every capacity.

i'll address modage for shits and giggles

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.

- If you're shooting a movie whose main attribute is the style of the piece, for the love of God, do not shoot in fucking Atlanta. It's booooring as fuck. Wright wrote for LA, which looks great obvy in Drive and The Driver. Baby Driver starts at a major handicap right off the bat, because Atlanta (unless you're making a movie or show ABOUT Atlanta, like Atlanta) is boring as fuck. See: all Marvel films from the last 5 years.

the cloverleaf interchange and visions of skyscrapers toward the end was great. he let us wait for it. he let the city blossom, which is rare for city movies, which tend to drug you with aesthetics. i like the fuller vision of cinema Edgar Wright has, personally. cinema is like a person to him. that's a good idea imo.

Quote
- The idea that the hero has to listen to music in order to drown out the hum in his ears caused by the accident that killed his parents is a great setup. Unfortunately the movie does nothing with it dramatically. The film is wall-to-wall music, which sounds cool except almost none of the sequences rise to the occasion of being worthy of the song it's scored to. Because it's just EVERYWHERE, it all blends together into something that has no peaks and valleys. There is one cute moment where he gets into a new car and can't start driving until he finds a good song on the radio which does the most with this idea. It's fun. But it doesn't have any real dramatic function in the film. And thus, the hero essentially has no arc. Which makes it kinda boring.

okay, did you like fall asleep for a little bit sometimes? Jon Hamm fires guns beside his ears and it brings a ringing intensity which allows the audience to feel like Baby. it was amazing, and that's just one example. the cutest earbud sharing i've ever seen is in this movie. um there just were peaks and valleys... i don't know how to respond, given how exceptionally brilliant the peaks and valleys are. i mean this is a guy whose true pen is cinema, okay. and i was wowed away by his script, personally. but Edgar Wright's pen is cinema, and it seems crazy to me to put down the music in this movie

Quote

DIGRESSION: Here's my small rewrite that solves this issue: he has to drown out the hum in his ear because whenever he isn't listening to music he's forced to focus on the ringing, which always brings him back to his mothers death which he feels partly responsible for (maybe they got in a fight or he distracted her with his ipod music mashups or something). So it is essentially his way of not dealing with the trauma of his childhood. And for all the chases in the film, where he must be completely focused, each one is scored to a song. However something happens to his ipod for the final getaway, it gets broken or something, and he has to do the entire chase in silence, and the film takes away the score, both differentiating it and upping the dramatic stakes. You can even throw in some flashes to his mom for drama. And then once he completes it he learns that he doesn't NEED the music, he can face his past. Right? Why did something like this not happen?

lol oh you're remembering. Jon Hamm shoots his ipod. this movie is absolutely an action-movie bildungsroman. he does learn that he can take care of himself. that's actually what the movie is about, yes. no apologies for it not treating the music as you would.

Quote
The ending is unearned. Instead of coming up with a plan to outsmart the other dudes, why does he just go along with it and then go to prison? I get it's the unexpected thing to do, but again, dramatically it doesn't really make sense. He's been blackmailed by these dudes essentially that he has to be their driver, so why not have some agency and fuck them over instead of just turning yourself in for something that you weren't entirely responsible for?

...idk you should've written it or something? i thought it was awesome that he had to face consequences for illegal actions. i was really proud of the movie giving him a sentencing, even while describing his great character

Quote
Lily James is cute and charming and unfortunately a placeholder for where an actual character should go. She doesn't even have a tragic/sympathetic backstory to explain why the hell she is cute, single and waiting for this weirdo to take her out of Atlanta.

diner culture. it's USA culture. it's well-known.

Quote
Kevin Spacey, we've seen him do this before. Ditto Jamie Foxx. And why was Hamm the last man standing and Spacey turns around to not be a prick? The law of action movies says "have a good bad guy that we want to see get dead." Not sure why they pulled the switch and made it Hamm, someone he had no beef with, and not Spacey, who was manipulating him into doing this in the first place. It's FINE. It's just odd.

no comment.

Quote
He makes these little mix tapes sampling people and then again, the film does nothing with it! Why isn't the entire film him driving around to these fucking remixes that he's made himself? Would've made the entire score memorable instead of just an oldies jukebox and dramatically tied the tapes back into the score. Also: the fact that this movie trots out Beck's Debra as a major plotpoint and then gives them a weak-ass half-scene to score it to, is a major fail. #RescueDebra

the dramatic weight of the mixtapes were obvious and well-known within the world of electronic music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS3AZ12xf6s

Quote
The name reveal is kinda an eye-roll. (Why was he telling unrelated waitresses his bank robber code name instead of his real name?)

you should've written the movie!

honestly i just like attacked the conversation here and i really believe (guess) that we do both appreciate each other as people who like movies. same tribe. honestly it became immensely obvious to me that you need to watch the movie again. if you don't get mad at me you'll surprise yourself, promise.

summary: during the movie i cried 3x and it's the best move i've seen since Holy Motors
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: modage on June 29, 2017, 07:16:16 PM
Definitely don't appreciate you as a person if you're gonna continue being snotty. If you loved the movie, great. I think my criticisms still stand. I wanted to love it, I came away thinking it was a B- and for a movie Wright has supposedly been thinking about for decades, seemed like he never really got past the initial hook. I don't need to rewrite the movie, it just seemed to leave a lot of dramatic meat on the table.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on June 29, 2017, 08:08:00 PM
i never quite like when a person says "i was snotty because you were." i agree that the good thing to do would've been to ignore you. whenever i bat for the team if i'm not nice enough to the other person everything goes haywire. it's not my first rodeo and like i said, i was attacking the comments, same tribe imo. bless xx
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on June 30, 2017, 01:34:57 PM
birds of a feather

(http://www.billboard.com/files/media/edgar-paul-baby-driver-billboard-embed.jpg)

Quote
Paul Williams (http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/movies/7849310/edgar-wright-paul-williams-baby-driver-conversation): I just want to keep saying, the story in this movie is fantastic. I don't want to talk about the specifics, but the way it develops with Baby and his relationship to his mother and father… the heart in that. I got teary in the picture two or three times and the ending just slayed me. I loved it. And you combine that with Jon Hamm and one of the most frightening transformations since Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear. He takes it to a place that's hauntingly terrifying. I told you wanted to write a review!
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Gold Trumpet on June 30, 2017, 10:28:07 PM
It's good popcorn filmmaking. I didn't think too much about characterization. What impressed me more is the lyrical ways Wright was able to sync the soundtrack to the actions and keep a fun flow with the camera and staging. Technically, it's well thought out. I think that depth is what it was most interested in.


Spoiler The end got a little too messy in blood lust but that's all.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on July 01, 2017, 12:57:33 AM
throughout his career characterization has been an important technicality to Edgar Wright. which raises him above popcorn filmmaking. and that's just a fact.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Gold Trumpet on July 01, 2017, 01:11:54 AM
His idea of characterization here is pretty typical, sorry.

It's not the strong suit of the film and since you just gave me a standard statement, I returned in kind.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on July 01, 2017, 01:24:11 AM
for example, most of the other criminals put Baby down. they call him retarded. they do this casually. it's how they talk. multiple people do this in different ways. Kevin Space like: stfu. John Hamm don't seem to mind so we all think he's the good guy, and everybody has been hilariously pissed about that

Baby, he can't explain himself to these people. the New Yorker call hims boring. again: everyone wants to put Baby down.

but Baby ain't having it. Baby ain't being put down by the put downs. he's got other problems indeed. no one cares about them indeed.

he's got one girl who understands him. she wants to head out with him.

you guys are hilarious and kisses to all the haters. the hate is gonna die out like that, live it up while you can.

it's this movie which will last.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 01, 2017, 01:39:47 AM
you guys are hilarious and kisses to all the haters. the hate is gonna die out like that, live it up while you can.

Or maybe this doesn't have to be a battle and we can just handle a difference of opinion.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: jenkins on July 01, 2017, 01:44:19 AM
you guys are hilarious and kisses to all the haters. the hate is gonna die out like that, live it up while you can.

Or maybe this doesn't have to be a battle and we can just handle a difference of opinion.

jb is what an allegory. in it, the movie will be as strong as Baby was in the movie. it was some sass in the face of sass, and it's interesting to target me. me and you jb -- every time i wonder why. every time.

i apologize for being difficult and i promise to stay away from xixax for a while. thank you.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Gold Trumpet on July 01, 2017, 04:24:25 AM
See, Baby being put down by everyone around him is easy set up though. The film ultimately wants to make Baby look perfect and excellent in ways completely inhuman. It's the super hero complex a lot of movies have. It all stems from Superman II. Not when Superman does anything fantastic against the main villains, but when Clark Kent gets his powers back and stands up to a diner bully. People salivate over the good guy winning the day over the bully. It's just been grossly exaggerated since. Now because super hero movies are everywhere, it's bled into everyday movies. Baby Driver just finds a different way to get to that same tired point.

Also, most of Baby's characterization/personality complex stems from a single moment. While for someone as young as his character is, it probably is the defining moment for who he is. However, all the film had to do is make one allusion to that moment and then go find different ways to show his character being effected by the trauma. Instead, the film just recycles variations of the same memory over and over again. There isn't any variation to Baby besides our own idea that the memory just is painful for him to deal with - like each time the memory is shown.

The best characterization in the movie comes in small scenes like Baby and Debora enjoying each other's simple company in a laundromat and making the moment unexpectedly romantic. The way the movie can also bounce off music and Baby finds himself drawn to characters like Debora is really charming in ways atypical.

See, I love the movie. I really do. It will get a lot of replay value for me. I just think the characters are pulp and treated as such. Because that's how they are treated, i think it's fine work.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: RegularKarate on July 01, 2017, 10:25:59 AM
Yeah, I think the majority of the criticisms here are valid, they just didn't matter to me. I was moved by the movie both times I saw it. I don't think it tries to be anything outside of pulp.

LOL at the freakout based on nothing, btw. Nobody bit you, dude, you came out swinging like an insane person.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: pete on July 01, 2017, 12:36:47 PM
I would've been blown away if this film happened 20 years ago, but now all the things it so proudly shows off have been so relentlessly featured in so many things already - and nothing obscure either, we're talking like Kill Bill, Stomp, La La Land, Drive, and Guardians of the Galaxy - like huge movies that themselves are tributes to other films too. And I usually don't mind recycling something that works except this film really wants you to know that these things are super cool - setting anachronistic music to action scenes, having a cassette of your mom (which is also a major plot thread in the upcoming Patti Cake$), quiet getaway man, and all kinds of stuff that all would've been fine except the film seems to be really proud of these things and spends much more time on them rather than making you care about the characters.

also you know they tacked on that ending so the film can play in China.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 03, 2017, 01:36:57 AM
This is officially Edgar Wright's most successful movie. Outperforming expectations with a $30 mil opening...


http://deadline.com/2017/07/despicable-me-3-baby-driver-the-house-july-4th-weekend-box-office-independence-day-1202122599/

“It’s great to see an original, non-IP film breakthrough this summer; it’s a shot in the arm for anyone who supports original filmmaking,” beamed Sony worldwide distribution and marketing chief Josh Greenstein this morning. [...]

Baby Driver is director Edgar Wright’s biggest opening at the box office, his previous high being Scott Pilgrim vs. The World ($10.9M, which actually bombed). We hear Wright is like a kid in a candy shop; just completely over the moon with this weekend’s success.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 03, 2017, 02:08:40 PM
Saw it. Loved it. Completely understand why one might dislike it. But... this:

I think the majority of the criticisms here are valid, they just didn't matter to me.

Exactly this.

I think Scott Pilgrim, which I deeply love, prepared me for Baby Driver. Once it clicked that this was a heightened universe, I was in, and there was no escaping.

Most of the supporting cast, Kevin Spacey and John Hamm especially, were just magnificently fun. Some things exist just to be funny or weird, but they also sort of feed the propulsion of the whole thing.

The movie was both bananas and emotionally resonant, and I'm genuinely not sure how that happened, because it shouldn't have worked. After 5-10 min, it was like a snowball effect. I was delighted by basically everything all the way through the end.

SPOILERS

There is one cute moment where he gets into a new car and can't start driving until he finds a good song on the radio which does the most with this idea. It's fun. But it doesn't have any real dramatic function in the film. And thus, the hero essentially has no arc.

I understand that, but none of that would have occurred to me. I just wasn't in that mode. Nor did I care about Scott Pilgrim's arc.

I think they gave us just enough content to make Baby compelling, and nothing more. That is completely fine with me. Once I understood that he might be on the spectrum, and that he is definitely dealing with post-traumatic stress, that is literally all I needed to sync with the character. Didn't even require much from the performance. And this is going to sound ridiculous, but his blankness was refreshing. Not all people are explosively emotional and generous with their thoughts and feelings. With some people, you can only get that out of them in certain moments, which is exactly what happened here. Felt just right to me.

The ending is unearned. Instead of coming up with a plan to outsmart the other dudes, why does he just go along with it and then go to prison? I get it's the unexpected thing to do, but again, dramatically it doesn't really make sense. He's been blackmailed by these dudes essentially that he has to be their driver, so why not have some agency and fuck them over instead of just turning yourself in for something that you weren't entirely responsible for?

It's a way for him to get away clean in the end. Because Kevin Spacey and anyone who might come after him are dead. He is also free to live his life not always running from the law. Seems pretty tidy and fair. An unearned ending would have him riding off into the sunset with Debora as fugitives. That would feel off.

As for why he went through with the job... that made complete sense to me. Because as they say in that scene, the alternative wasn't going home, it was fleeing the country immediately. Baby wouldn't have an opportunity to flee with Debora if he's already fleeing with them.

Lily James is cute and charming and unfortunately a placeholder for where an actual character should go.

True, but I didn't care. I did not want any more exposition. We get just enough for things to make sense. I don't think this is a movie about fully-developed characters, and I'm glad it doesn't try to be something it's not.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: polkablues on July 05, 2017, 05:43:42 PM
I sympathize with mod here, because it's hard to balance that fine line of explaining why you liked but didn't love a movie without coming across like you're slamming it. I also sympathize with him because I largely agree with his take on the movie. Technically brilliant, ridiculously fun, sloppy plotting, thin characterization, boring and ugly Atlanta, Wright's third-best movie.

I would like to focus my attention on the film's most glaring issue, which is that Ansel Elgort is not nearly a good enough actor to carry this movie. Watching and reading interviews with him, you get the sense he's a bit of a dim bulb, and that really came across in his performance. He can generally read a line the way it's supposed to be read, he can sit still when the script says he sits still, he can act flirty when the script says he acts flirty, he can arrange his facial features into moderately convincing simulacrums of various human emotions, but I don't get the sense he has any deeper understanding of the character he's playing. There's no light behind the eyes. When his face isn't moving, there's no inner world on display, no gears turning inside his head. I would kill to watch a version of this movie with someone like Dane Dehaan, or Michael B. Jordan, or Nick Robinson, or fuck, if Anton Yelchin hadn't died. Someone who could make me feel this character's internal struggle even when there wasn't a flashback to tell me about it. That to me was the biggest roadblock to getting fully invested in the film, that there was this empty void parked right of the middle of the whole thing.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: pete on July 06, 2017, 02:19:58 PM
I didn't dislike this movie while I was watching it.

but I was also very aware that I was being pandered to; kinda like certain episodes of Community - I was very aware that the movie was more interested in pandering to me than delivering on the goods it promised; ie. a rollercoaster ride with genuine emotions, memorable characters, and a new take on a tired genre. instead of casting a good lead, it chose to reward me for being a dude who also loves playlists. i know many of wright's movies fall into the category of "what if a dude like you were an action hero", but even on that curve, this one is his thinnest by far. I don't believe he can actually project himself on Actorman Millennialface the way he does with all his other heroes, and as a result, I also don't really buy it. Also - for all their talks of technical craftsmanship, what was actually onscreen was just a'ite.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 06, 2017, 02:52:28 PM
I sympathize with mod here, because it's hard to balance that fine line of explaining why you liked but didn't love a movie without coming across like you're slamming it. I also sympathize with him because I largely agree with his take on the movie. Technically brilliant, ridiculously fun, sloppy plotting, thin characterization, boring and ugly Atlanta, Wright's third-best movie.

I would like to focus my attention on the film's most glaring issue, which is that Ansel Elgort is not nearly a good enough actor to carry this movie. Watching and reading interviews with him, you get the sense he's a bit of a dim bulb, and that really came across in his performance. He can generally read a line the way it's supposed to be read, he can sit still when the script says he sits still, he can act flirty when the script says he acts flirty, he can arrange his facial features into moderately convincing simulacrums of various human emotions, but I don't get the sense he has any deeper understanding of the character he's playing. There's no light behind the eyes. When his face isn't moving, there's no inner world on display, no gears turning inside his head. I would kill to watch a version of this movie with someone like Dane Dehaan, or Michael B. Jordan, or Nick Robinson, or fuck, if Anton Yelchin hadn't died. Someone who could make me feel this character's internal struggle even when there wasn't a flashback to tell me about it. That to me was the biggest roadblock to getting fully invested in the film, that there was this empty void parked right of the middle of the whole thing.

I don't think you're necessarily wrong about Ansel Elgort. But I sincerely did appreciate this as a uniquely blank performance. I read him as at least somewhat autistic. There are the obvious hints, there are also little things — I liked that he could only connect with Kevin Spacey using a Monsters Inc quote. I don't think the movie is meant to hinge on his depth, either; he's even wearing sunglasses half the time.

Maybe the performance works for me because he seems so out of place among the other criminals (which obv. was a central theme). Ansel pulls that off by being guarded and impenetrable. Maybe that's his natural state, but it works. Then, I think he really does open up and come alive with Debora. I would definitely not describe him as an empty void in those scenes.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: polkablues on July 06, 2017, 03:35:19 PM
But I sincerely did appreciate this as a uniquely blank performance. I read him as at least somewhat autistic.

I would go along with this argument if I thought for a second it was an intentional acting choice beyond "Edgar told me not to move my face in this scene."

Then, I think he really does open up and come alive with Debora. I would definitely not describe him as an empty void in those scenes.

This is also a problem for me. Elgort makes no viable effort to sell these as different shades of the same character. He's giving one performance in some scenes and a totally different performance in other scenes, and I'm convinced it's because he either didn't put in the work of understanding and internalizing the character, or that he's simply incapable of doing so.

Anyway, I'm just going to leave this here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4gsAS8h3p0
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: pete on July 06, 2017, 04:16:19 PM
I think, for whatever reason - we're running outta young white dude stars - I just saw Free Fire and it was like 12 Actor Dudes all trying their darndest to be eccentric and characterly. meanwhile I was just on my friend's set where Lakeith Stanfield and Steve Yeun are doing a dystopian Oakland comedy with tinges of Office Space and Idiocracy - I dunno, there are certain actors you meet in real life and they're much more handsome and stylish than how they look on screen, but recently it just feels like there are all these actors I see in films and music videos where they just look like bros on your lyft line when you go to Brooklyn or LA. maybe it's like lack of good acting schools? no improv training? I dunno but c'mon this Ansel Backup Dancer Looking Guy whose last name I already forgot just isn't someone who deserves an Edgar Wright lead. Even Michael Cera barely cut it.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 06, 2017, 04:29:56 PM
Anyway, I'm just going to leave this here:

I think you've just proven us both wrong, because that was HOT. Ansel Elgort has more depth and soul than Michael Jackson. He should be playing young Han Solo.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: polkablues on July 06, 2017, 05:46:40 PM
I think, for whatever reason - we're running outta young white dude stars - I just saw Free Fire and it was like 12 Actor Dudes all trying their darndest to be eccentric and characterly. meanwhile I was just on my friend's set where Lakeith Stanfield and Steve Yeun are doing a dystopian Oakland comedy with tinges of Office Space and Idiocracy - I dunno, there are certain actors you meet in real life and they're much more handsome and stylish than how they look on screen, but recently it just feels like there are all these actors I see in films and music videos where they just look like bros on your lyft line when you go to Brooklyn or LA. maybe it's like lack of good acting schools? no improv training? I dunno but c'mon this Ansel Backup Dancer Looking Guy whose last name I already forgot just isn't someone who deserves an Edgar Wright lead. Even Michael Cera barely cut it.

Growing up rich, white, and moderately attractive in America is still a pretty lucrative combo, as it turns out. Ansel Elgort is the participation trophy of people.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: tpfkabi on July 17, 2017, 07:59:37 PM
I enjoyed it, but don't think I would go to 'love it' status.

If you want to go in cold with nothing SPOILED stop reading now:

I think having the actual words to the synced song to be graffiti on the wall was a bit much. Wes Anderson will probably be my favorite song/montage-r, and he never goes that on point.

I did like the audio leaving one side of the theater when Baby's earbud was taken out.

The car/foot chases were nicely done.

Some of the boy/girl dialog in the diner felted forced.

It was surprising to hear an instrumental from Pet Sounds and to have a character actually talk about Beck's Debra. I am one of the few who seems to love Mutations and Midnite Vultures.

I still have not seen Scott Pilgrim. His other films I've seen are a little too British and heavy on techno music for my tastes.
Title: Re: Baby Driver
Post by: WorldForgot on July 17, 2017, 09:08:58 PM
It was surprising to hear an instrumental from Pet Sounds and to have a character actually talk about Beck's Debra. I am one of the few who seems to love Mutations and Midnite Vultures.

I still have not seen Scott Pilgrim. His other films I've seen are a little too British and heavy on techno music for my tastes.

Scott Pilgrim is my favorite Edgar Wright film, and it might have made Baby Driver a more focused experience for you if you had been hit by it's bass grooves already, as the Montage and Music sync there is just as blatant as the graffiti, more so even. Beck wrote the songs Scott P plays with his band. You might be interested in checking it out, but expect it to be as loud as a Sanjay Leela Bhansali musical.

edit: that said, Baby Driver might be my least favorite. The genre-tickling gets distracted by its characters, rather than WRight's usual mode, with each element confirming and amplifying the last. I usually really enjoy EdgaR'z females, while I feel Baby Driver would have been more interesting as Gangsta Darling...