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MacGuffin

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #255 on: April 27, 2007, 12:47:36 AM »
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GROUND OUT IN THE UK?
Source: CHUD
 
Most news items are like a 7" punk single, arriving with a bang and over in a flash. Grindhouse news, on the other hand, is becoming a 12" extended club remix, where the same chorus repeats over and over and over. The only chance to win attention back at this point is if R Kelly or Lil' Wayne drops in with a verse.

So here it is, quick like: the film's UK release date has been pushed back indefinitely. Previously scheduled for June 1, the Brothers have realized that their US strategy spanked nuts, and have decided to regroup and reformulate. With a territory just twice the population of California to market, you'd think a strategy wouldn't be difficult to come up with, but this is the same company that couldn't educate consumers on the fact that they were seeing a double feature in the States.

Along with that news rolls the continuing Tarantino backlash, which is as apparant in the litany of news articles as in comments posted online. We all know that studio executives live and die by the sort of relativist moral code that means lunch friends are dinner enemies, so rumors of Hollywood glee at the pic's failure aren't shocking, but even elements of the press who formerly thrived on QT praise have given into the trend.

This is an entertaining opportunity, at least, to get online and read the reams of reader comments on various articles, since the law of numbers means that at least a few of the people bashing the guy's entire filmic output paid to see Wild Hogs.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #256 on: April 27, 2007, 09:34:08 AM »
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Quentin Tarantino: I'm proud of my flop
Undaunted by the US box-office failure of his latest film, Quentin Tarantino can't wait to unveil a new, souped-up version at Cannes. He talks to John Hiscock
Source: The Telegraph UK
 
The hard-core Quentin Tarantino fans who lined up to see the much-anticipated Grindhouse on its opening weekend in the US seemed delighted with the filmmaker's £30 million homage to exploitation films. But, to everyone's surprise, it was the least successful opening of any of Tarantino's films in the past decade.

In some countries, the films will be shown separately. In Britain, as in the US, the plan was originally to show them as a double feature. Now, however, the film has been pulled from the schedules while the distributors work out what to do with it. "It will definitely be released here, but we don't know in what form," they say.

"Oh, it was disappointing," says Tarantino of the poor opening weekend when I meet him in Beverly Hills. "It was disappointing, yeah." Then he brightens and laughs. "But the movie worked with the audience."

He should know. He had spent the weekend driving around Los Angeles area in his yellow-and-black Mustang, seeing the film eight times in different cinemas to gauge audience reaction.

"People who saw it loved it and applauded, but maybe a lot of people just didn't want to see two movies," he says.

Grindhouse, which has taken just £12 million at the US box office in the three weeks since it opened, consists of two bloody, 85-minute movies: Planet Terror, by Sin City director Robert Rodriguez, a long-time Tarantino collaborator, and Death Proof from Tarantino himself.

Planet Terror stars Rose McGowan as an exotic dancer whose career is cut short when her right leg is eaten by flesh-craving zombies, and she is fitted with a machine-gun prosthetic. Death Proof, which stars Kurt Russell as a psycho stunt-driver, is Tarantino's "slasher" film, except the slasher uses a car to kill young women instead of a knife.

To make the film look authentically B-grade, Tarantino and Rodriguez scratched the prints and edited out "missing reels". They also included fake exploitation-movie trailers directed by pals Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright and Eli Roth to run during the "intermission".

For those countries where Death Proof will be released separately, Tarantino plans to add 30 minutes he had to edit out. "There is half-an-hour's difference between my Death Proof and what is playing in Grindhouse," he says. "I wrote my script - I couldn't be prouder of my script - then I had to shrink it way down to fit inside this double feature.

"I was like a brutish American exploitation distributor who cut the movie down almost to the point of incoherence. I cut it down to the bone and took all the fat off it to see if it could still exist, and it worked. It works great as a double feature, but I'm just as excited if not more excited about actually having the world see Death Proof unfiltered."

It is hard not to marvel at the 44-year-old filmmaker's constant enthusiasm. He talks so rapidly that his words seem to tumble out on top of each other in stream-of-consciousness monologues that are liberally sprinkled with the names of obscure, B-movie directors and exploitation films long forgotten by nearly everyone but himself.

A film fan from the time he could talk and walk, Tarantino has an encyclopaedic knowledge of movies that most experts have never even heard of, and he likes nothing better than to talk at length about them.

He has an almost touching faith in his own abilities and is incapable of believing his own movies are anything but flawless. Like a child looking forward to Christmas, he is eagerly anticipating Death Proof having its solo première at the Cannes film festival.

"I can't wait for it to première," he says. "It will be in competition, and it'll be the first time everyone sees Death Proof by itself, including me."
 
The idea for Grindhouse came when Rodriguez was at Tarantino's house and saw a poster for a 1957 double bill of Dragstrip Girl and Rock All Night. He mentioned that he had always wanted to do a double feature. Tarantino instantly came up with the name Grindhouse, and a movie was born.

Tarantino and Rodriguez, who met at the Toronto Film Festival in 1992, have been occasional collaborators ever since Tarantino played a drug dealer in Rodriguez's Desperado in 1995.

He was the executive producer, writer and co-star of Rodriguez's vampire movie From Dusk Till Dawn, and he also directed a segment of Sin City, while Rodriguez composed some of the music for Tarantino's Kill Bill.

"I can't imagine doing Grindhouse with any other director in the way me and Robert did it because I just had complete faith and trust in him," says Tarantino. "So much so that we didn't actually see each other's movie completed until three weeks before the film opened. It was as if we worked in little vacuums and cut our movies down, and then put them together and watched it all play, and then made a couple of little changes after that, and pretty much that was it."

Critics' reviews were mostly enthusiastic, but Daily Variety asked: "Did anyone besides Tarantino and Rodriguez ever really care about the grindhouse movie genre that much to begin with?"

Tarantino cares passionately; and, probably not coincidentally, at the time Grindhouse was released, he was supervising an eight-week "grindhouse festival" at a Los Angeles cinema, featuring deliriously bad films from his collection, including what he says is one of his all-time favourites, The Girl From Starship Venus by the British sexploitation director Derek Ford, which he programmed as part of a double bill with The Legend of the Wolf Woman.

The festival was a great success with Tarantino fans, who revere his dual status as the film geek who made good and the reigning avatar of postmodern cool.

Raised by his mother in a Los Angeles suburb, Tarantino dropped out of school and took a job as a salesman in a video store, where he brushed up on his already-voluminous knowledge of martial arts and B movies.

He worked as a production assistant on a Dolph Lundgren exercise video, and with a friend, Roger Avary, he wrote the screenplay for Reservoir Dogs, which marked his debut as writer-director-actor.

They followed that with screenplays for True Romance and Natural Born Killers and then Tarantino returned to the director's chair for Pulp Fiction, which won him more than a dozen major awards.

He adapted Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch, and turned it into the 1997 film Jackie Brown. Then he dropped out of sight, making "Where's Quentin?" a Hollywood catchphrase, until he returned with the two-part martial arts comedy-thriller Kill Bill.

"I think I've gotten more technically proficient as a filmmaker because you can't help but do that," he says. "Having gone through the pre-production, production and post-production processes, you kind of know how to do it now; it's not a gigantic mystery any more. Maybe that's one of the reasons that, from Jackie Brown on, I've always tackled things I didn't know how to do, so I could learn how to do them."

He is unmarried but is seldom short of female company. He broke up with his longtime girlfriend Grace Lovelace in 1995 and spent two years with Mira Sorvino. He also dated director Allison Anders and comedienne Margaret Cho.

But as a friend said: "It takes a pretty special kind of girl to give up her life to watch kung fu movies with him for a year and a half."

Although he has shaped a pop-culture persona as big as his films, Tarantino is not among the most prolific of moviemakers, averaging one film every three years or so.

"I want to make movies. I have to make movies," he says. "The reason I don't make more movies is that I want to live life in between. I give it all to the movies, and it's like I'm climbing Mount Everest every time. When I get off the mountain then I want to be able to enjoy some time in the chalet at the bottom.

"When I make a movie it's an adventure, but when I get through with it then I get back to my friends I've put on hold for a year. The opposite sex, adventurous travel, sleeping late, watching mindless television, reading a novel, trying to go to sleep at night - they all become very appealing again.

"But the real, real reason I don't make more movies is that I'm a writer, and I always have to start with the blank page and that's hard. You are starting from scratch every single time. Nothing you've done before means a damn when you've got to start all over again."

His next project will be Inglorious Bastards, a Second World War film he has been working on for several years and which he calls his "Dirty Dozen, men-on-a-mission movie".

Having already paid homage to martial arts, revenge, slasher, Japanese and road-rage movies, Tarantino is also planning a new genre, a form of spaghetti western set in America's Deep South which he calls "a southern".

"I want to explore something that really hasn't been done," he says. "I want to do movies that deal with America's horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to.

"But I can deal with it all right, and I'm the guy to do it. So maybe that's the next mountain waiting for me."

It's a safe bet that his "southern" will also include homages to several other movie genres.

"Look at my movies and there's usually at least three genres operating on all cylinders, bumping into each other," he says. "It's like I don't know if I'm going to make a tremendous amount of movies, so I keep trying to knock off three movies with each one I do."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Ravi

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #257 on: April 27, 2007, 04:26:28 PM »
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"People who saw it loved it and applauded, but maybe a lot of people just didn't want to see two movies," he says.

What is wrong with people?  The double feature is part of the charm of Grindhouse.  OTOH, these are the same people I always see jumping up to bolt out of the theater right before the closing credits.  Do people just not have much fun at the movies or what?

MacGuffin

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #258 on: April 28, 2007, 12:14:36 AM »
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'Grindhouse' to be split in U.K.
'Death Proof' to go out Sept. 21
Source: Variety
 
LONDON -- The Weinstein Co. has announced that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's double feature "Grindhouse" with be released as two separate movies in the U.K.

The original plan was to saddle up "Grindhouse" as a double bill in the U.K. and Australia with other territories getting Tarantino's "Death Proof" and Rodriguez's "Planet Terror" separately.

Momentum Pictures will release "Death Proof" in U.K. theaters on Sept. 21. A release date for "Planet Terror," which will also go out via Momentum, has not yet been set.

Tarantino takes a longer version of "Death Proof" than appeared in U.S. cinemas as part of "Grindhouse" to the Cannes Film Festival next month, where it will screen in competition.

News of the underperformance of "Grindhouse" at the U.S. box office has spread like wildfire through the Brit press and the Weinstein Co. has been hard at work formulating a rescue plan for the international launch for the project.

"We are very proud of 'Grindhouse,' " Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. It "earned overwhelming rave reviews for its audaciousness and boldness."

"Based on U.S. audience's positive reactions to Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof' and Robert Rodriguez's 'Planet Terror,' combined with their resistance to the three-hour running time, we've revised our U.K. release plans to allow audiences the chance to see the films separately, like they will be shown in all international territories," Weinstein said.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Re: Grind House
« Reply #259 on: April 30, 2007, 02:11:42 AM »
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"People who saw it loved it and applauded, but maybe a lot of people just didn't want to see two movies," he says.

What is wrong with people?  The double feature is part of the charm of Grindhouse.  OTOH, these are the same people I always see jumping up to bolt out of the theater right before the closing credits.  Do people just not have much fun at the movies or what?

As much as I dislike blanket statements like this, I still think the key is that Tarantino and Rodrigeuz were paying respect to a genre no one really cared about or even knew. Like 300, the film was blanketed with violence and visuals everywhere, but unlike 300, it was referencing things nobody knew about. Everybody knew about the historical genre at the basis of 300.

Grind House wasn't that much fun to me because I don't care much for violent movies and I also didn't give a shit about the references or the inside jokes. I knew the references were there because my showing was drowned out by fan boys laughing at everything. They were determined to cue every stupid joke.

But, I also remember when Mars Attacks! failed. I really enjoyed that movie but it did absolutely nothing at the box office. I thought it would do huge numbers considering the cast, but no one warmed up it because it was referencing the 1950s sci fi genre the entire way. Hindsight bias explains that the failure lies in the genre being popular mainly in the 1950s. A 90s audience just had little interest.

So what if not everyone liked it. As I get older, I am more bothered by violent movies. It is hard to watch Letters from Iwo Jima one week and then be asked to fall in love with the silliness of 300 the next week. That's what I literally was asked to do.






Ravi

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #260 on: May 03, 2007, 05:58:37 PM »
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As much as I dislike blanket statements like this, I still think the key is that Tarantino and Rodrigeuz were paying respect to a genre no one really cared about or even knew. Like 300, the film was blanketed with violence and visuals everywhere, but unlike 300, it was referencing things nobody knew about. Everybody knew about the historical genre at the basis of 300.

People are more likely to have a sense of what old exploitation films are than they would Thermopylae, ancient Persia, etc.  The people who saw 300 did so because of the promise of action and gore.

soixante

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #261 on: May 04, 2007, 10:49:02 PM »
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Just bought the screenplay book for Death Proof.  It's an entertaining read.
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Re: Grind House
« Reply #262 on: May 07, 2007, 01:42:14 PM »
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"People who saw it loved it and applauded, but maybe a lot of people just didn't want to see two movies," he says.

What is wrong with people?  The double feature is part of the charm of Grindhouse.  OTOH, these are the same people I always see jumping up to bolt out of the theater right before the closing credits.  Do people just not have much fun at the movies or what?

As much as I dislike blanket statements like this, I still think the key is that Tarantino and Rodrigeuz were paying respect to a genre no one really cared about or even knew. Like 300, the film was blanketed with violence and visuals everywhere, but unlike 300, it was referencing things nobody knew about. Everybody knew about the historical genre at the basis of 300.

Grind House wasn't that much fun to me because I don't care much for violent movies and I also didn't give a shit about the references or the inside jokes. I knew the references were there because my showing was drowned out by fan boys laughing at everything. They were determined to cue every stupid joke.

But, I also remember when Mars Attacks! failed. I really enjoyed that movie but it did absolutely nothing at the box office. I thought it would do huge numbers considering the cast, but no one warmed up it because it was referencing the 1950s sci fi genre the entire way. Hindsight bias explains that the failure lies in the genre being popular mainly in the 1950s. A 90s audience just had little interest.

So what if not everyone liked it. As I get older, I am more bothered by violent movies. It is hard to watch Letters from Iwo Jima one week and then be asked to fall in love with the silliness of 300 the next week. That's what I literally was asked to do.








ya i agree with most of what you're saying, but i'd have to say it's all the way the violence is depicted.  letters from iwo jima was supposed to be a conscious movie but i just thought it was crappy.  i've seen that film a million times before.  i honestly thought that if clint was going to make a movie about Japanese soldiers then he above all other American directors he could look outside of the box and not involve issue to do with the US/western thinking.  to me, after watching that film (and i am Canadian) i gotta admit i was kinda sick to my stomach.  cuz at the end of the day, it was another "America is the best" movie.  some might argue that it's not.   It just seems to me there are so many small things in the movie that reinforce western culture.  every single rational Japanese soldier was very western in their ideologies (one even went to school in America).  when can we all get past this democracy or nothing frame of mind.  even though the film is telling the story of Japanese soldiers, it's telling the story from a western frame of mind.  i could go more into all of this, if you want me to, but i'll leave it for now...  before i get too far away from the point.

basically the violence in most WWII holywood made movies, despite the pseudo-socially conscious stigma attached to them, is glorified.  iwo jima has the same problem going for it that saving private ryan did; which is another suck America's cock movie. the message of the film and the WWII elements seem tacked on.  the first 20 mins of saving private ryan were considered a testament to the horrible violence that is war.  i say that's BS, it's just a jaw dropping action sequence that gets the blood pumping.  there was nothing in that movie that showed the true horror of war, and the internal battle that soldiers have.  the Japanese guy in iwo jima and tom hanks deliver politician-esque speeches that hold no real weight.  true horror of war can be seen in movies like "the thin red line" and "full metal jacket".  the insanity of war.  others, like most war movies, are just propaganda pieces; or at least could very well be.

with all that said i personally i don't mind the violence as much, just the intent of the violence and the message that's trying to be sold to the audience by using violent images.  i do not need violence to enjoy a film, i just hate style and subtext (or lack there of) way more then violence in an of itself.

deathproof was fun/great because it was unconventional, planet terror wasn't any good because it was run of the mill (non-handheld camera) studio made zombie flick.  if i wanted to see a good version of planet terror i'll just go watch a romero zombie movie or "they live" by carpenter and get the same, yet improved, effect.

i just love the camera choices that tarantino makes, i love how he'll hold on shots.  i loved the dialog, it was still good, yet not as flashy as his older stuff (which was nice).  i love the structure of the story, how it's broken in half yet still keeps the themes of the film.  it was a lot of fun to watch.  RR shit is getting really boring now, there is a low brow sensibility to his stuff, which when i was younger i thought was funny, now i just think it's poor taste.  i think death proof does a lot for cinema, and opens audiences up for a different experience, and also it just kicks ass.  it doesn't hold the pretense of being anything other than what it is...  and it delivers.  i loved it.

and i guess that's my point, when violence is more often deemed justifed because of the context of the film, i more often find myself thinking it's the worst kind of violence, it exists behind a high brow facade.  whereass in deathproof the violence is there cuz of the story, tarantino does't try to candy coat his violence as legitimate.  his violence doesn't try and subvert the audience to think that it was necessary, it's just a kick ass movie event.  and he tells it like no other.

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #263 on: May 08, 2007, 12:57:30 AM »
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I'll agree with your take on Saving Private Ryan. I think the first 15 minutes are masterful, but it still does not give a context to war that is overall gratifying. It is only a superb technical accomplishment. A better film after that 20 minutes would have given it a context.

For your take on Letters from Iwo Jima, I'll agree that it does Westernize the drama to meet the needs of a US audience, but I don't think that is a bad thing. In the cannon of cinema about World War II, films from Japan and abroad about the Japanese conflict have, I found, to have limited viewpoints about the national identity of Japan. The most concurrent themes have been focused on the nationalization of Japan to fight for all costs to the point of suicide or focused on the Japanese people as victims with the atomic bomb.

What Letters from Iwo Jima does is look at the general issues and then digs deeper to look at more that actually broaden the scope of most people's ideas on the war. Since the filmmaker and one of the writers is American, the point is to give a context to American audiences of the Japanese culture during the war. By using facts about the soldiers who had experiences in America and did serve in the battle of Iwo Jima, it utilizes things that are not bullshit so the aim is still accurate. It is all about the selection of what facts to use to highlight the drama.

All Clint Eastwood is doing is representing a national cinema for America. This has been done before by other countries and geographies. In countries like Poland, regions are so different than one another that films can be made for one region and not be able to translate well to another because dialect is different and the perspective is skewed to meet the sensibilities of that region. This can happen in topics as general as war. Also, every country tries to slant films about abroad subjects to meet their own country so national audiences will be able to emphasize. The Japanese struggle does not have relevancy to Americans the way Rome, Open City had for Italians, but there is an indirect relation because guilt and confusion still carry on with many Americans about the Japanese.

What makes Letters from Iwo Jima different than Saving Private Ryan is that Letters from Iwo Jima is dealing with real history and actual ideas about the nature of the war. Sure both films have an American perspective, but Saving Private Ryan is a convoluted story that has greater relationship to an old 1940s movie than any greater sensibilities. Letters from Iwo Jima not only represents interesting facts and contradictions that go against typical thinking, but it does a sincere job to humanize the Japanese. Much of the drama has nothing to do with Westernization as it has to do with general human topics that are normal in any film from any country.

But, c'mon, the Japanese soldiers do need to be humanized. We're able to accept films about American soldiering that shows officers doing what any of us would have done to pass the time in war. Why aren't the Japanese able to have such a portrait? Nazism is often viewed as a brainwash job for soldiers in films inside and outside of the United States, but psychological studies after World War II found that Americans were more susceptible to brainwashing than them. Yet the United States portrait continues of soldiers in that war continue to be diverse.

I don't buy that Full Metal Jacket and The Thin Red Line are quality at all. Full Metal Jacket is a theoretical film about the nature of killing and if it can be molded into anyone forced to go through boot camp nightmare. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Vietnam War at all. That war is just a back drop for Kubrick's general and banal ideas. Jarhead, a very cliched and overripe film, has more ideas about the nature of soldiering today than Full Metal Jacket does.

And what does The Thin Red Line really do? Absolutely nothing. It is another virtuoso work of visuals about war with nothing to say. The Japanese soldiers are still silent and driven to kill at any cost. The portrait of American soldiers is simple. It makes the one point that individuality becomes lost in a war that discards lives with such ease. The narrator of the film starts out as one but becomes many and the viewer is unable to tell them apart. See, the only difference in this film is that it isn't heaped with sentimental points like most bad Hollywood films because it says about as much as one does about war. I also doubt that scene where the soldier runs through a hornet's nest of Japanese soldiers and kill them all but doesn't manage to get killed himself is highly unlikely.

See, at least Letters from Iwo Jima has something to say. The major problem with it is that it starts to bombard the audience over and over again with it's points but considering most films don't try to play revisionist to history the way Clint Eastwood has with Letters and Flags from Our Fathers, I'll accept the film. It is a unique work of art.

I don't understand how you got to the thinking that the film says America is best. The film gives America considerations, but it certainly gives the Japanese much more consideration.

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #264 on: May 08, 2007, 01:04:10 AM »
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About Rodrigeuz and Romero, I don't put value on one over the other. They both specialize in a genre that doesn't excite me. But I did like the first two Spy Kids movies.

About Tarantino, yea, he is goofing out and it isn't offensive. 300 carries grand statements with its silly action, but I also didn't find Death Proof much fun either. Everything before the last chase is boring. It really is. People say Tarantino lost a little control in this film with his dialogue. I don't think so. I just think with his earlier films, he had better structures. His earlier films had more characters and situations. Even Resevoir Dogs had more avenues for mixing up the conversation. Pulp Fiction was an assortment of conversations from every level of the pulp genre. The story in Death Proof feels like a recorded taping of a few conversations for the extent of an hour and a half. It can't be good all the way. It has to get boring sometime. Tarantino wanted the story to be simple, but he needed to add more dimensions to make it good. I can't see the longer version being any better.

socketlevel

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #265 on: May 08, 2007, 11:01:41 AM »
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sorry I'm using the quote what you say and then respond approach, i just want to make sure i address my take on all of the issues you brought up.  it helps me sort it out :D

For your take on Letters from Iwo Jima, I'll agree that it does Westernize the drama to meet the needs of a US audience, but I don't think that is a bad thing. In the cannon of cinema about World War II, films from Japan and abroad about the Japanese conflict have, I found, to have limited viewpoints about the national identity of Japan. The most concurrent themes have been focused on the nationalization of Japan to fight for all costs to the point of suicide or focused on the Japanese people as victims with the atomic bomb.

What Letters from Iwo Jima does is look at the general issues and then digs deeper to look at more that actually broaden the scope of most people's ideas on the war. Since the filmmaker and one of the writers is American, the point is to give a context to American audiences of the Japanese culture during the war. By using facts about the soldiers who had experiences in America and did serve in the battle of Iwo Jima, it utilizes things that are not bullshit so the aim is still accurate. It is all about the selection of what facts to use to highlight the drama.

All Clint Eastwood is doing is representing a national cinema for America. This has been done before by other countries and geographies. In countries like Poland, regions are so different than one another that films can be made for one region and not be able to translate well to another because dialect is different and the perspective is skewed to meet the sensibilities of that region. This can happen in topics as general as war. Also, every country tries to slant films about abroad subjects to meet their own country so national audiences will be able to emphasize. The Japanese struggle does not have relevancy to Americans the way Rome, Open City had for Italians, but there is an indirect relation because guilt and confusion still carry on with many Americans about the Japanese.

correction, one of the writers is Canadian, lol... i guess that appropriation by America is kinda what I'm getting at, which i will explain:

i would agree with this notion of expressing an idea in a context that the audience can understand, in this case presenting it with a western tone for a western audience.  however, this is a somewhat Machiavellian approach to the issue.  America dominates the cultural world of cinema, and thus the film makers and the studios have a higher sense of morality and ethical conduct, because as spidy's uncle always said "with great power comes great responsibility".  now to go with what you're saying, you seem to assume the film is being made exclusively for a western audience.  not true; a film like letters from iwo jima would have distribution rights and releases all over the world.  I disagree with what you say because American films are not just made for Americans, they're made for everyone that wants to lay down the dollar.  when you have guys like jack Valenti dominating the world and only wanting American movies made, right or wrong, you take on more of a responsibility; to not only give one perspective of events.  morals from stories work on a primitive level, so that they can get passed on as wisdom.  if it's done in a way that depicts the events true to how the people conveyed in the film think, rather than the way the audience thinks, is more true to the actual events/feelings/lessons.  don't cater to the audience, let them expand their mind and come to the truth, and embrace the difference.  with the way it was done, depicting a subtle message of western way of life that is foreign, yet rational and caring, subversively suggests that thinking any other way is inherently wrong.

you see, it suggests that the humanity in these Japanese soldiers was the western influences.  that leaning toward democracy will set your body and spirit free.  it is very subversive and dangerous imo.

What makes Letters from Iwo Jima different than Saving Private Ryan is that Letters from Iwo Jima is dealing with real history and actual ideas about the nature of the war. Sure both films have an American perspective, but Saving Private Ryan is a convoluted story that has greater relationship to an old 1940s movie than any greater sensibilities. Letters from Iwo Jima not only represents interesting facts and contradictions that go against typical thinking, but it does a sincere job to humanize the Japanese. Much of the drama has nothing to do with Westernization as it has to do with general human topics that are normal in any film from any country.

But, c'mon, the Japanese soldiers do need to be humanized. We're able to accept films about American soldiering that shows officers doing what any of us would have done to pass the time in war. Why aren't the Japanese able to have such a portrait? Nazism is often viewed as a brainwash job for soldiers in films inside and outside of the United States, but psychological studies after World War II found that Americans were more susceptible to brainwashing than them. Yet the United States portrait continues of soldiers in that war continue to be diverse.

as soon as one ounce of western sensibility was showed on the characters i was put off.  of course they should be humanized, i didn't suggest otherwise.  I'm just saying that the universally human characteristics that you mention, should have been the exclusive defining virtue within their hopes, dreams and humanity.  the amount of western influences changes this, intentional or not, to suggest that virtues are only found in one direction.  the leader of these soldiers were the most wise and Christ like (martyr-esque) of all the characters.  they're following this democratic way, to find peace.  that's a little fucked up to me, especially when this film streches far out into the world as i previously mentioned with distribution.

I don't buy that Full Metal Jacket and The Thin Red Line are quality at all. Full Metal Jacket is a theoretical film about the nature of killing and if it can be molded into anyone forced to go through boot camp nightmare. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Vietnam War at all. That war is just a back drop for Kubrick's general and banal ideas. Jarhead, a very cliched and overripe film, has more ideas about the nature of soldiering today than Full Metal Jacket does.

And what does The Thin Red Line really do? Absolutely nothing. It is another virtuoso work of visuals about war with nothing to say. The Japanese soldiers are still silent and driven to kill at any cost. The portrait of American soldiers is simple. It makes the one point that individuality becomes lost in a war that discards lives with such ease. The narrator of the film starts out as one but becomes many and the viewer is unable to tell them apart. See, the only difference in this film is that it isn't heaped with sentimental points like most bad Hollywood films because it says about as much as one does about war. I also doubt that scene where the soldier runs through a hornet's nest of Japanese soldiers and kill them all but doesn't manage to get killed himself is highly unlikely.

i think they both FMJ and the thin red line work on a metaphorical level.  the insanity of war in that respect.  the hornet's nest scene showed that both sides were killing machines, both deprived their compassions for rage to get the job done.  letters from iwo jima and jarhead are too didactic, i don't care about the events of war myself, at least it's not my primary concern.  i however care much more about the internal factors that come into play to make a soldier of war.  both jarhead and iwo jima are melodramatic, they churn out our tears or disgust, whereas i feel full metal jacket and the thin red line open our minds to the soul of these characters (or the-lack-there-of in the case with FMJ)

See, at least Letters from Iwo Jima has something to say. The major problem with it is that it starts to bombard the audience over and over again with it's points but considering most films don't try to play revisionist to history the way Clint Eastwood has with Letters and Flags from Our Fathers, I'll accept the film. It is a unique work of art.

I don't understand how you got to the thinking that the film says America is best. The film gives America considerations, but it certainly gives the Japanese much more consideration.

it gives Japanese the consideration only if they can conform with America's way of thinking.  it mixes the two belief structures of the time into the Japanese soldiers, but not the American ones.  the American soldiers don't show any signs of an eastern way of thinking.  if that was an attempt to say "see America, they're more like us then you thought", fine I'll say that it has good intentions.  however in the bigger picture it is more detrimental, because it says to the world, they found freedom and salvation through being more like the West.  why couldn't the Japanese whole heartedly believed in what their own structures, and still come to the same conclusions at the end of the film?  maybe that wouldn't make as much money stateside, but it would be more honest, and it would also be more globally respected.

the world is really getting sick of this kinda thing, it's a certain type of arrogance.  what's scary now is that it works a lot more subconsciously, I'm sure Clint and Paul haggis didn't intentionally do what i think is the problem with the film.  it just naturally flows out of them, in part to appease the audience at home, and also to make a story that will sell.  and truthfully, it's probably done in a way that they can understand it and justify the events.  if this was a Japanese made film, it would be done in a way that they can understand it (like you're saying), and it is their story.

anyway i think we both want the same thing from a film, it's too bad i see it in the films you don't and you feel vice versa about my outlook.  by no way am i trying to stop the conversation, just wanted to note that.

at least we can both agree saving private ryan isn't worth the celluloid it was shot on, lol.

-sl-
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socketlevel

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #266 on: May 08, 2007, 11:12:35 AM »
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About Rodrigeuz and Romero, I don't put value on one over the other. They both specialize in a genre that doesn't excite me. But I did like the first two Spy Kids movies.

About Tarantino, yea, he is goofing out and it isn't offensive. 300 carries grand statements with its silly action, but I also didn't find Death Proof much fun either. Everything before the last chase is boring. It really is. People say Tarantino lost a little control in this film with his dialogue. I don't think so. I just think with his earlier films, he had better structures. His earlier films had more characters and situations. Even Resevoir Dogs had more avenues for mixing up the conversation. Pulp Fiction was an assortment of conversations from every level of the pulp genre. The story in Death Proof feels like a recorded taping of a few conversations for the extent of an hour and a half. It can't be good all the way. It has to get boring sometime. Tarantino wanted the story to be simple, but he needed to add more dimensions to make it good. I can't see the longer version being any better.

the original dead movies are great, i love them.  they're fun, silly, exciting and make socio-political comments.  they walk a beautiful fine line between being shlock and having an important message (something i'll never wrap my head around).  something that for myself seems like the hardest tight rope to walk.  i'm utterly amazed and humbled by those films.

Rodrigeuz's stuff is just popcorn crap.

regarding tarantino, this is just an idea, not making any claim to your way of thinking, but do you think because the cast was all female you didn't identify with what they were saying?  cuz i really liked the dialog, it was the female version of the openning scene, and subsequent group scenes, in reservoir dogs.  i don't know, tell me what ya think.

ya i don't see the longer version being any better either, but i still love the original.
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Pozer

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #267 on: May 08, 2007, 12:20:43 PM »
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just get it over with and combine your posts/powers socketlevel & GT.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #268 on: May 09, 2007, 11:01:18 PM »
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By the lengths of both posts, there seems to be a lot to cover, but I think most of the discussion centers on one argument so I'll be quoting out of order.

as soon as one ounce of western sensibility was showed on the characters i was put off.  of course they should be humanized, i didn't suggest otherwise.  I'm just saying that the universally human characteristics that you mention, should have been the exclusive defining virtue within their hopes, dreams and humanity.  the amount of western influences changes this, intentional or not, to suggest that virtues are only found in one direction.  the leader of these soldiers were the most wise and Christ like (martyr-esque) of all the characters.  they're following this democratic way, to find peace.  that's a little fucked up to me, especially when this film streches far out into the world as i previously mentioned with distribution.

See, I think you're looking too much into this. The Japanese leaders in question were not finding peace through the west. The one thing Ken Watanabe's character brings from the west is the understanding that their military is far more sophisticated than the Japanese. He is trying to update the defense mechanisms so they have a fighting chance against an invasion.

Also, with the character Baron Nishi (the celebrity soldier who knew Hollywood stars) what he relates to his fellow soldiers is the understanding that the Americans are not soul less. The infranty soldiers were made to understand that they were. He does not tell his fellow soldiers that to understand peace you have to embrace the west. To attain clarity is to understand and emphasize with your enemy. If the English were the enemy, a similar point could be made about them.

I disagree with what you say because American films are not just made for Americans, they're made for everyone that wants to lay down the dollar.  when you have guys like jack Valenti dominating the world and only wanting American movies made, right or wrong, you take on more of a responsibility; to not only give one perspective of events.  morals from stories work on a primitive level, so that they can get passed on as wisdom.  if it's done in a way that depicts the events true to how the people conveyed in the film think, rather than the way the audience thinks, is more true to the actual events/feelings/lessons.  don't cater to the audience, let them expand their mind and come to the truth, and embrace the difference.  with the way it was done, depicting a subtle message of western way of life that is foreign, yet rational and caring, subversively suggests that thinking any other way is inherently wrong.

Taking from my first part that I don't think the film implies Western ideals so much as it implies emphasis and respect with the enemy, I move on by clarifying what I mean when I say Clint Eastwood is representing a national cinema for America. This isn't just to cater to the entertainment value of Americans. It also isn't to cater to their beliefs and sympathies. Some films that represent national interests do this, but I think Eastwood is representing America in that he is representing the American perspective as a theme and viewpoint to the war.

If an English filmmaker was making the same story, he could highlight instances and moments that have English references. He would be explaining the war from the English side as someone would do who was choosing a perspective and theme to their story. It has nothing to do with alienating audiences around the world or promoting a bias. It has everything to do with selections and choices that are in drama.

morals from stories work on a primitive level, so that they can get passed on as wisdom.  if it's done in a way that depicts the events true to how the people conveyed in the film think, rather than the way the audience thinks, is more true to the actual events/feelings/lessons.  don't cater to the audience, let them expand their mind and come to the truth, and embrace the difference.  with the way it was done, depicting a subtle message of western way of life that is foreign, yet rational and caring, subversively suggests that thinking any other way is inherently wrong.

you see, it suggests that the humanity in these Japanese soldiers was the western influences.  that leaning toward democracy will set your body and spirit free.  it is very subversive and dangerous imo.

Like I said before, I don't see it at all. The film has numerous vantage points and references that show the humanity and struggle of the characters that have nothing to do with America. The soldiers who begin to defect against the suicide missions and try to fight for their lives may be influenced by the leaders in question, but I do not think those leaders were educated by Western principles to see through the absurdities of war. I just believe they are professional soldiers who understand the nature of their work better.

Consider the point of Grand Illusion. It was about World War I and showed the nature of the war as the last war where Generals where made to treat ranked prisoners of war with respect and courtesy. The comment on the film years later said there was a striking difference between the first two world wars as the second one was an ideological brain wash to convince the soldiers and elites to find evil and disgust in their enemy. Many soldiers and ranking officers did believe the ideological spin, but also many experienced officers did not and saw their work as a duty and job that needed to be carried out with professionalism. The order and clarity that Ken Watanabe's character enforces into the regiment may be an example of this and the reason why many soldiers started to think outside of the ideological box they were forced to believe.

I'd love to hear a detailed explanation with examples and references to how this is a Western spin instead of just what I said. I have absolutely respected and loved every portion of your argument, but I also cannot see it in the film.

i think they both FMJ and the thin red line work on a metaphorical level.  the insanity of war in that respect.  the hornet's nest scene showed that both sides were killing machines, both deprived their compassions for rage to get the job done.  letters from iwo jima and jarhead are too didactic, i don't care about the events of war myself, at least it's not my primary concern.  i however care much more about the internal factors that come into play to make a soldier of war.  both jarhead and iwo jima are melodramatic, they churn out our tears or disgust, whereas i feel full metal jacket and the thin red line open our minds to the soul of these characters (or the-lack-there-of in the case with FMJ)

I think Full Metal Jacket and Thin Red Line go for what you say they do, but I also believe they are works that simplify their subjects. The insanity of war...the internal factors that come into play to make a soldier of war...these are all general themes that have been around forever. Almost every film about war that is quasi serious attempts to detail these broad and general ideas. Both of these films barely cover these themes.

For instance, in The Thin Red Line....the film surveys different battles and numerous deployments of soldiers everywhere. It shows chaos in battle and the struggles soldiers have to go through. Fine. To give this a context, the film tries to show the peace that these soldiers once knew. One remembers their wife swinging on a tree swing back home. They reminiscence about their memories of home. Scenes show a soldier walking with native children through a village and enjoying the simplicity of their life. It shows the peace we have infringed upon with war, but...it ends there.

There is nothing deeper. There are no ideas the explain in more detail the personal agony that the soldiers went through. The characterization is an array of voice overs about the general feelings for being in war. If the film wanted to delve into their personal agony, it would have had much more details to show the depths of horror these soldiers have to go to to just survive war. Because the film focused on the surface level details and was continuous with the personal sentiments of the soldiers for home, I'd say that is melodramatic. Letters from Iwo Jima delves much deeper.

A soldier running through a hornet's nest of Japanese soldiers, killing them all and surviving is not a statement about how soldiers became killing machines. A statement like that would have come in scenes that focused on the preparation and aftermath of a killing. It would focus on the potential guilt of that soldier and how he carred on. Instead the scene is a rare action one in the midst of a deliberately paced film. It becomes acceptable because of the rest of the film around it doesn't give into those easy action sequences. But the scene should have been dropped. It is a cliche because 99% of actual soldiers who would have done that would have been killed. If it was going to be in the movie, it should have showed him dying badly instead.

Full Metal Jacket does better because it focuses on the road one soldier takes to challenge himself to actually kill someone. It shows a personality in the soldier that is more relatable to the audience than the typical portrait. It shows that joking about killing is easy, but doing so is another matter. My problem with the film is that it could have been more. It was drawn out to make one small point. Many people like to talk about the dense textures in a Kubrick film, but in this one, it wasn't there. When the end of the film becomes understood, the only question is how to connect the first half with the second half. When that explanation comes with Kubrick purposely going against expectations because the war genre may be the most overdone ever, it becomes obvious he is trying to challenge narrative norms.

But it doesn't make a great film for me. One of Robert Bresson's weaker films was Lancelot of the Lake. It was a film focused on narrative. It told the conventional story of Lancelot but focused on the repetitions of getting off and on the horses with multiple edits and then showed other repetitions we don't see generally highlighted in a conventional narrative. The film was meant to be disturbing and jarring to the senses because it was challenging the norms of one of the most normal stories. Full Metal Jacket challenges the narrative norms for one of the most popular genres, but since his ideas are so simple and lightweight compared to his other work, it does not make a great film.




« Last Edit: May 11, 2007, 12:33:03 AM by The Gold Trumpet »

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Grind House
« Reply #269 on: May 09, 2007, 11:13:35 PM »
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the original dead movies are great, i love them.  they're fun, silly, exciting and make socio-political comments.  they walk a beautiful fine line between being shlock and having an important message (something i'll never wrap my head around).  something that for myself seems like the hardest tight rope to walk.  i'm utterly amazed and humbled by those films.

I've only seen Dawn of the Dead and I wasn't impressed by the filmmaking or the political comments. I've read some comments that try to explain the political nature of those movies, but because the explanations were vague and had little to do with anything that was concrete and real, I felt that the argument was stretching the limits of the movie. I know many people enjoy the movies, but I'm just not a fan of the zombie genre.


regarding tarantino, this is just an idea, not making any claim to your way of thinking, but do you think because the cast was all female you didn't identify with what they were saying?  cuz i really liked the dialog, it was the female version of the openning scene, and subsequent group scenes, in reservoir dogs.  i don't know, tell me what ya think.

See, I thought the dialogue was good. Tarantino has a knack to adapt himself to invent conversations with different groups of people. On a surface level, it reminds me of what Tom Wolfe can do. My problem is that he didn't have structure and dimensions to the story to give us a break between the very long conversations. No matter who wrote it or who the characters were, these conversations were going to get old very quick. The exception is unless a character was telling an elaborate story that required 30 minutes of dialogue. Tarantino just needed to add more to the story.

 

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