Author Topic: First Reformed  (Read 1049 times)

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wilder

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First Reformed
« on: March 29, 2018, 03:38:54 PM »
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Reverend Ernst Toller (Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church now is a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence.

Written and Directed by Paul Schrader
Starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried
Release Date - May 18, 2018



jenkins

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2018, 07:45:22 PM »
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i want to see it yeah

eward

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 12:12:04 PM »
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Classic Schrader material. His choices as of late have been fucking wild so I'm intrigued by this ostensible return to form.
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."

samsong

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 06:51:06 PM »
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a buddy saw this at a festival and sung its praise.  said it's by far schrader's best and the best movie he saw last year.  looks like his version of diary of a country priest.  probably the film i'm looking forward to most.

samsong

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 03:14:25 AM »
+1
powerful, admirably unhinged and unmitigated in its bleakness.  i'm not sure that this is actually transcendental so much as schrader aping the aesthetic that he literally wrote the book on, frenetically, lovingly, but also frivolously tipping his cap to the practitioners of said style, but not necessarily achieving what he purports is its purpose.  it plays like a tarantino film for the likes of bresson, bergman, dreyer, and tarkovsky (i really didn't see much ozu here).  so i found myself at odds with the forced asceticism, especially as the film moved towards where it ends up.  still, against today's standards and what cinema has become, this is as austere as one can reasonably expect, i guess.

this is a profoundly angry film, a damning study of christian/religious pathology and a death knell for humanity.  there's also this (skip to 03:16):



very good.  wanted to like this more.  i suspect i'm overly precious about the films and filmmakers that can be categorized as transcendental, and can't help but view this as somewhat slight by comparison.




eward

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 10:46:40 PM »
+1
This was one of the most powerful, emotional experiences I have had with a film in some time. Every last strand of loss and ache and disillusionment that permeated this story went really deep for me. There's a long, breathtaking scene of dialogue near the beginning that not only sets up who Hawke's Reverand Toller is, ultimately urging him onto the increasingly psychologically fraught path he treads throughout the film, but also serves as an aggressive reminder of what a fucking incredible writer Schrader is.

This really hit home (literally, it takes place just outside my hometown.) I feel fairly certain I won't see a better American film this year.

"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."

Fuzzy Dunlop

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2018, 05:12:02 PM »
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Best of the year so far for me. I was hanging on every shot.

modage

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2018, 12:01:55 PM »
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This is my favorite of the year so far and doesn't strike a false note...

NOT REALLY SPOILERS

...until the last 2 minutes of the movie when it strikes an entirely false note. It's kind of a major bummer for a movie that had been so controlled and assured to fall flat on its face at the finish line, but it didn't entirely ruin the experience for me. Just dinged it from a B+ to a B-.

MAJOR SPOILS

It's not even that I needed the super-bleak ending for the film to work, it's just that the way the barbed wire and the camera swirl were executed felt like it was out of a different movie. The makeup didn't work, the score, it just felt forced and like he wasn't sure about it. Which is such a bummer because when they lay on top of each other earlier, I thought that levitation was incred.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

eward

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2018, 01:26:31 PM »
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This is my favorite of the year so far and doesn't strike a false note...

NOT REALLY SPOILERS

...until the last 2 minutes of the movie when it strikes an entirely false note. It's kind of a major bummer for a movie that had been so controlled and assured to fall flat on its face at the finish line, but it didn't entirely ruin the experience for me. Just dinged it from a B+ to a B-.

But even without that false note, and being your favorite of the year, you'd still only rate it a B+?
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."

modage

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2018, 09:37:40 AM »
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Yeah I have not been super impressed with movies in 2018.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

martinthewarrior

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2018, 09:07:53 PM »
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Agree pretty much exactly with Modage's take.

A beautiful, timely, furious movie that sadly loses its grip by the end. I love several of Shrader's films ("Auto Focus" maybe most of all, despite its relative obscurity), but it's become more and more apparent that he's just not a good director. Every film is an intellectual exercise in copping the feel of a director his critical mind digs, and while there have been plenty of incredible writers without a visual style (I'm looking at you Mankiewicz) I can't think of any who so shamelessly jump from imitation to imitation. Shouldn't have listened to the commentary, which reinforced that the entirety of his visual ideas boils down to, "so and so did this, I'm gonna try it on for size". Would've been such a better film if his script was helmed by someone who could occasionally free themselves from their reference points.

As much as I've come to admire Ethan Hawk, I wanted to believe his descent far more than I did. Not sure he works as well as I wanted him to.

Blah blah. I also agree that with the shape of movies in 2018, it was an incredible admirable near miss for me.


eward

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2018, 09:18:03 PM »
+1
It worked perfectly for me. I was devastated/enraptured by the end. 100% perfect to my eyes and senses at large, not a single flat note.

Horses for courses.
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."

The Ultimate Badass

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2018, 09:57:27 PM »
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I was surprised at how bad I found this movie to be after reading all the good things said about it here. I thought it was amateurish and silly and poorly crafted. The movie seems like it's been assembled from the pale shadowed fragments of many other better movies. Every scene is so trite and unoriginal. Even the levitation scene, which I agree is its high-point, feels familiar -- we've seen this same thing many times before. This movie really has nothing new or interesting to say at all.

That's not even getting into Schrader's directing. He's just not very good at it. He has such a heavy hand, and lacks self-assuredness and cinematic vision. And the guy cant direct actors for shit. Every interaction is so clunky and unnatural. Amanda Seyfried's performance was distractingly awful and I dont think it was really her fault. Almost everyone was pretty bad in this. But hats off to Cedric the Entertainer who was, surprisingly,  the only character that managed to come across as a believable human being.

 

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