Author Topic: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!  (Read 5648 times)

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wilder

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2017, 11:30:40 PM »
+1
SPOILERS

Well it’s fucking beautiful, no surprise. A study in passive aggression and petty cruelty. Every scene asks: Who’s on top? Who can best exploit the other’s vulnerabilities? The dresses as emotional bondage...all the snips and cuts and pointed needles echoing the verbal weaponry used by the leads. Sex is conspicuously absent, but the power games and resulting domination replace any need for it. Like Jack Horner, Plainview, and Dodd before him, Woodcock molds others to his vision of life, with cold indifference to anyone's desires but his own. This character is darker than PT’s previous ones, though - he gets off on invoking humiliation and fear. Like in Blood, there's a sorrowful impossibility of reconciliation, because his essential nature cannot be changed. Reality must be twisted toward him, and twist Alma does. Luckily it’s darkly funny, too, the humor stemming from the absurdity of Woodcock’s self-seriousness. He just cannot. stand. not to be. in. control. Haha.

Maron relayed an insight into the narcissistic personality, once: “you’re either feeding their ego, or you’re a threat.” That partially sums up Woodcock, but then the pain that he inflicts as a result of his moodiness also becomes his pleasure. The ending is sick, but in a way, inevitable.

PT’s best. My new favorite.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2017, 12:09:37 AM »
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PT’s best. My new favorite.

Whoa.

I will try to forget the other things I read in your post...
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wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2017, 12:49:52 PM »
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SPOILERS

Well it’s fucking beautiful, no surprise. A study in passive aggression and petty cruelty. Every scene asks: Who’s on top? Who can best exploit the other’s vulnerabilities? The dresses as emotional bondage...all the snips and cuts and pointed needles echoing the verbal weaponry used by the leads. Sex is conspicuously absent, but the power games and resulting domination replace any need for it. Like Jack Horner, Plainview, and Dodd before him, Woodcock molds others to his vision of life, with cold indifference to anyone's desires but his own. This character is darker than PT’s previous ones, though - he gets off on invoking humiliation and fear. Like in Blood, there's a sorrowful impossibility of reconciliation, because his essential nature cannot be changed. Reality must be twisted toward him, and twist Alma does. Luckily it’s darkly funny, too, the humor stemming from the absurdity of Woodcock’s self-seriousness. He just cannot. stand. not to be. in. control. Haha.

Maron relayed an insight into the narcissistic personality, once: “you’re either feeding their ego, or you’re a threat.” That partially sums up Woodcock, but then the pain that he inflicts as a result of his moodiness also becomes his pleasure. The ending is sick, but in a way, inevitable.

Fuck, man, that's really well put.  You've illuminated things about the film I felt, but hadn't really articulated to myself yet. I'm now officially considering this the first review in print of the film. 
"There's shadows in life, baby."

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2017, 03:20:23 PM »
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Quote
When love comes your way...it gets pretty complicated and peculiar...as love does.
   
--PTA on "Phantom Thread"   [from the post-screening discussion, Nov 24, 2017, Beverly Hills, CA]
"There's shadows in life, baby."

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2017, 04:27:36 PM »
+1
Post the audio you recorded from the discussion.

Without meaning to be cute, (or a tease), I think I'm going to wait to post my full audio recording of the discussion following the Nov 24th screening I attended.   I think it will spoil less (and mean more) if you hear it after you've seen the film.  But to show good faith, here are a couple of moments that I particularly enjoyed.

In the first excerpt, Paul has just addressed a (not)-serving-as-his-own-DP question, when Vicky volunteers what that was like from her perspective .

The second is whether Paul is concerned about how a new film is received by audiences.
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Cloudy

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2017, 04:36:41 PM »
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i feel bad about having problems with this movie, it's a weird place. i'm having problems with a lot of cinema these days... this movie felt like one of my favorite filmmakers is getting soft, spoiled, and old, and i don't really need to watch him express it.

when the rich fat lady walks up the stairs with those eyes full of an honest, vain, heart-breaking life experience. it's really the greatest part of the film, and one of the best scenes i've seen... when she passes out and they get the dress... the movie works best in this mode.

yeah it's beautiful, but the craft is monotonous. and unlike a movie like The Neon Demon, it never finds a moment to go beyond fetish and style. DDL over-acting like crazy. . . . it's my first viewing, and i've been totally wrong before with pta after first viewings, so let's see. but that's where I'm at now.

*the music is unbelievably great, i think the soundtrack is worth more than the movie for me.

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2017, 09:18:30 PM »
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i'm having problems with a lot of cinema these days...

Let me just say that if this isn't a thread somewhere else yet, it should be.  I've been having the same Dark Night of the Cinematic Soul for the last few years... I really liked Phantom Thread (thank God!), but really disliked things like Inherent Vice, Hateful Eight, Whiplash, La La Land, Get Out, Dunkirk, etc, etc. (It's an extensive list.)  So many films with "universal acclaim".  (It may have started when The Artist won Best Picture.)
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wilder

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2017, 09:42:50 PM »
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Not contesting your opinion, to each his own. Just some additional thoughts:

One thing I really liked about Woodcock vs the megalomaniacs Plainview and Dodd was that there seemed to be actual stakes limiting Woodcock’s selfishness. In There Will Be Blood and The Master, the characters exhibit the prowess they hold in their minds through monologues or grand actions (standing on and hammering a railroad stake through a table, relaying an embellished story about wrestling a dragon), but there’s less actually pushing up against them in these moments. These are large overtures for large overtures sake rather than a need to dominate something else in the scene. Salesmanship and theater. To put it another way: if the characters didn’t act this way, nothing story-wise would change. I know this is a bit of a false equivalency because Plainview has Eli to contend with in terms of furthering his oil enterprise, and Dodd has a growing base of followers, or not, but what I'm trying to say is that the stakes of domination in those scenes are not as central to the plot as I think they are in Phantom Thread. Phantom Thread seems the inverse where dressmaking is an incidental profession, a symbol of the artist's life, but it serves more to create an engine for the hierarchical interpersonal relationships, which are the real meat of the film.

Reynolds’ lack of accountability nearly costs him one of the most monied patrons of the House of Woodcock, and he has to swallow his pride temporarily in order to operate in reciprocity with the world. At the dinner party scene, when Alma’s seated next to the man who invites them to the New Year’s Eve party, he attempts to sell her on it by saying it’ll be the “the time of her life.” Alma responds challengingly “How do you know what my life has been?” and the man says plainly, “I don’t. But I think you’ll have a very fine time.” This grounded reaction is in sharp contrast to all other conversations in the film, which can only be approached by Woodcock as battles to be won or lost. It reminded me of the moment in The Master when Dodd is confronted by the apartment gathering attendee who questions whether or not The Cause has the makings of a cult, but here that foil is deflected and buried more invisibly by having the contrasting conversation take place second-hand through another character. You still see the difference in humility but it’s not as bluntly in your face as before.

So the emotional transactions felt more literally like transactions to me here than in the past, where there had been a lot more telling and expository dialogue moving things along in linear fashion. Phantom Thread felt structurally more like a spiral that deepens as the story moves forward. That seemed like a real evolution in his writing, to me.

I’d taken this post down because I didn’t want to steer this thread into an uninteresting debate about which of his films are better, but do think that the movies he's made previously help illuminate where this one's heartbeat lies.

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2017, 10:26:48 PM »
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Man, you've thought about this way deeper than I could have at this point.  I'm not sure I would have had those kinds of insights even after 3 or 4 viewings.  I'm still just basically sitting in the afterglow...  Well done, sir.
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csage97

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2017, 11:32:46 PM »
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Thanks for posting your thoughts, everyone. I'm enjoying the discussion so far and I'm happy to see some people suggest that it's a sort of strange or curious film with lots of varying music.

Wilberfan, I am a mastering engineer. I spend most of my days listening to and massaging audio files, and testing out audio tools. If you'd like, I can take a look at the Q&A recording for you at some point and do a bit to smooth out the dynamics, get it to a comfortable playback level, bring out the speakers' voices and filter out unwanted noise. It probably wouldn't take a lot of time to get it to an acceptable point, so let me know. I'm likely busy with work the coming two days, but I'd have some time soon after. But if you think the file is already fine, that's all good. :)

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2017, 12:13:58 AM »
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Wilberfan, I am a mastering engineer. I spend most of my days listening to and massaging audio files, and testing out audio tools. If you'd like, I can take a look at the Q&A recording for you at some point and do a bit to smooth out the dynamics, get it to a comfortable playback level, bring out the speakers' voices and filter out unwanted noise. It probably wouldn't take a lot of time to get it to an acceptable point, so let me know. I'm likely busy with work the coming two days, but I'd have some time soon after. But if you think the file is already fine, that's all good. :)

The file already fine?  Pfff!   I took a real quick-and-dirty swipe at it for an hour or so this afternoon.  I don't really know what I'm doing (as you can probably hear).  I just increased the gain on the quiet parts, and hit it with an equalizer setting that sounded...better somehow.   I can let you finese it, sure.  If you're not worried about spoiling the film for yourself...  What I'd REALLY enjoy is watching you actually work on it.  You're not L.A.-based by any chance, are you...?  ;-)
"There's shadows in life, baby."

jenkins

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2017, 12:53:36 AM »
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like when he jumped from Magnolia to Punch-Drunk Love, in terms of the narrative dynamics of Inherent Vice versus Phantom Thread. this is straight forward as hell, even more so than Punch-Drunk Love, since Vicky Krieps explains what Phantom Thread will be about in her opening remarks. and then the entire movie is about what she said. also, what she describes, love, is the Phantom Thread. of course, love was the phantom thread. of course!

DDL is DDL good, which is great, and perfectly tuned. but i was surprised by his character's lack of range. here is the thing: DDL acts DDL good, but Vicky Krieps has the DDL character. the big character is Krieps. it's made clear that this is her movie, and she shreds. totally. every time i looked at her face i knew what was going on in the movie. sometimes i had to look across the room to see her face. but i would do that. because that was how i would know what was going on in the movie. in order for DDL to be spot on for his character, which he was, he had to be restrained. so there's less complexity to his acting frustrated in running jokes related to breakfast. her face's reaction to him becoming upset was always the more interesting face.

when he meets her she's a waitress. which is low culture. later he tells her ~, "Maybe you have no taste." but then at the wedding, when she takes the dress off the lady sleeping! then they kiss on the sidewalk! oh man. that was their Running in the Rain moment. the green dress had been the Ouija board.

that's because they're in love. it's maybe mysterious why they're in love, but i don't think Phantom Thread is a mysterious movie. i adore that PT adores the theme of people needing people. Phantom Thread is like a Paul Verhoeven love story. perfect high culture shittalking. and the women bonded by the end. this was as interesting as any other PT movie, they're all interesting, really i think way too many of you are way too hard on Hard Eight.

csage97

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2017, 12:58:40 AM »
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Wilberfan, I am a mastering engineer. I spend most of my days listening to and massaging audio files, and testing out audio tools. If you'd like, I can take a look at the Q&A recording for you at some point and do a bit to smooth out the dynamics, get it to a comfortable playback level, bring out the speakers' voices and filter out unwanted noise. It probably wouldn't take a lot of time to get it to an acceptable point, so let me know. I'm likely busy with work the coming two days, but I'd have some time soon after. But if you think the file is already fine, that's all good. :)

The file already fine?  Pfff!   I took a real quick-and-dirty swipe at it for an hour or so this afternoon.  I don't really know what I'm doing (as you can probably hear).  I just increased the gain on the quiet parts, and hit it with an equalizer setting that sounded...better somehow.   I can let you finese it, sure.  If you're not worried about spoiling the film for yourself...  What I'd REALLY enjoy is watching you actually work on it.  You're not L.A.-based by any chance, are you...?  ;-)

I'm way across the continent but not close enough to NYC to catch an advanced screening, unfortunately! L.A. sounds cool and, if I dare say, strange (no offense to the inhabitants!), and I need to make it out there for a visit soon. Anyway, the source recording is the biggest factor in an audio file being clean and high quality (sort of obviously). That said, there are a few ways that would hopefully highlight the voices more and get rid of unwanted noise as I mentioned .... I can send you a PM afterwards and give you a description of everything I did if you're interested in audio manipulation.

I'm not one who's too worried about spoiling things. As far as I'm concerned, the actors and director talking about filming and some of the scenes and such doesn't ruining the experience of actually being immersed in the film for me. As long as there's not some point where they say, "THAT BIG SCENE WHERE TWIST X HAPPENED AND IT WAS REVEALED THAT MAIN CHARACTER Y WAS Z AND THE WHOLE PLOT HINGES ON THAT ONE MOMENT," I'm fine.

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2017, 01:39:08 AM »
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Here is a write-up on the NYC post-screening discussion.

Quote
Anderson says he was inspired to write the script while laying in bed with his wife, Saturday Night Live veteran Maya Rudolph.

"I was very, very sick one night and my wife looked at me with a love and affection I hadn't seen in a long time," Anderson remembered. "So I called Daniel the next day and said, 'I think I have a good idea for a movie.' "

In reality, "Paul just needed an old man and I seemed to fit the bill," joked Day-Lewis
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wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - SPOILERS!
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2017, 01:57:20 AM »
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"There's shadows in life, baby."

 

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