Author Topic: Rian Johnson  (Read 5441 times)

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BB

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2012, 09:39:34 AM »
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lots of great filmmakers didn't want sound, and a lot of great talents were ruined by sound. Buster Keaton being the primary example. I get what you're saying in general, but the historical approach you took seemed a little simplistic, which translated to the rest of your argument about 3d now. technology certainly makes filmmakers curious, and the meddling of money and studio finance does seem to make everything less pure, I'm just not sure if it's to the extent of what you're saying - where it's one evil entity ruling over all the working artists.

I'll grant that there are lots of exceptions to what I've written. I am oversimplifying. But -- and here I might be changing my argument a bit -- I would maintain that B&W, silent film was an incidental step on the way to color, sound film. I don't mean to disparage B&W and silent. Many of the best films ever are both. What I mean is that if at the point of discovery Edison and Eastman could have fashioned color, sound film, they almost definitely would have. If early filmmakers like Melies and Griffith could have somehow bypassed B&W, silent film, they almost definitely would have. For most, that was the goal from day one. I don't think the same is true of 3D. The technology has existed for a very long time and has generally been regarded as shitty forever. It is not a "natural" evolution anymore than some sort of smell-o-vision system would be. I think the current push for 3D is purely a corporate play. It's a means to bolster flagging sales. The filmmakers most ardently in support of it (Cameron, Jackson) have financial interest in its success (I could be wrong here, can anybody confirm or deny?). Again, perhaps I'm oversimplifying. But I feel 3D is only "the future of film" because people (like Rian Johnson) are right now claiming it to be. I could be eating my words in a few years though.

As a side note, not that this supports my argument exactly, but we can't overlook Buster Keaton's alcoholism when discussing his decline after the silent era. Granted, his alcoholism could be a result of his struggle with sound, who knows? And, to be clear, I love Buster Keaton. Don't mean to dismiss him or anything.

It's just that "off of" is the kind of thing Rian Johnson would say.

Agreed. It won't happen again.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2012, 10:50:00 AM »
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You really should of known about the "off of" police.
"Hunger is the purest sin"

polkablues

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2012, 11:06:39 AM »
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If there's one thing you need to know about Pubrick, it's that he hates the word "of" in the middle of prepositional phrases. Hates it! And that's literally the only thing you need to know about him.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

pete

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2012, 03:08:54 PM »
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lots of great filmmakers didn't want sound, and a lot of great talents were ruined by sound. Buster Keaton being the primary example. I get what you're saying in general, but the historical approach you took seemed a little simplistic, which translated to the rest of your argument about 3d now. technology certainly makes filmmakers curious, and the meddling of money and studio finance does seem to make everything less pure, I'm just not sure if it's to the extent of what you're saying - where it's one evil entity ruling over all the working artists.

I'll grant that there are lots of exceptions to what I've written. I am oversimplifying. But -- and here I might be changing my argument a bit -- I would maintain that B&W, silent film was an incidental step on the way to color, sound film. I don't mean to disparage B&W and silent. Many of the best films ever are both. What I mean is that if at the point of discovery Edison and Eastman could have fashioned color, sound film, they almost definitely would have. If early filmmakers like Melies and Griffith could have somehow bypassed B&W, silent film, they almost definitely would have. For most, that was the goal from day one. I don't think the same is true of 3D. The technology has existed for a very long time and has generally been regarded as shitty forever. It is not a "natural" evolution anymore than some sort of smell-o-vision system would be. I think the current push for 3D is purely a corporate play. It's a means to bolster flagging sales. The filmmakers most ardently in support of it (Cameron, Jackson) have financial interest in its success (I could be wrong here, can anybody confirm or deny?). Again, perhaps I'm oversimplifying. But I feel 3D is only "the future of film" because people (like Rian Johnson) are right now claiming it to be. I could be eating my words in a few years though.

As a side note, not that this supports my argument exactly, but we can't overlook Buster Keaton's alcoholism when discussing his decline after the silent era. Granted, his alcoholism could be a result of his struggle with sound, who knows? And, to be clear, I love Buster Keaton. Don't mean to dismiss him or anything.



I forgot which famous cinematographers said this (Connie Hall and his ilks I believe) from that documentary Visions of Light - and I'm sorry that my film history is relatively out the window that I have to be quoting a documentary - that all breakthroughs in artful cinematography were halted because of sound, that the bandwagon jumping really forced the filmmakers - cinematographers especially - to abandon all the beautiful achievements they were making, so Edison's desire for coloring definitely did not speak for everyone. And Edison himself can't be the best representative for an altruistic artist anyway because 1) he wasn't that much of a filmmaker and 2) he was aggressive in his money-making ways.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

Ravi

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2012, 07:54:59 PM »
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Johnson makes a good point about the grand talk of 3D being so wonderful and immersive doesn't quite match what we see in theaters. Perhaps filmmakers are seeing their films in far better viewing conditions than regular people are, and they think that everyone sees what they see? Maybe Scorsese, Cameron, and Jackson really are seeing beautiful, immersive images while most of see dull, dim images?

polkablues

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2012, 11:51:05 PM »
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The point that stuck with me was the idea that when people like Scorsese rave about 3D, they're not actually seeing the 3D as it is but as how they envision its potential to be. It hadn't really occurred to me before that the current style of 3D is a transitional technology, something we have to suffer through to get to the next breakthrough, something that actually lives up to the artistic vision of the filmmakers using it.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

BB

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2012, 12:53:38 AM »
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I forgot which famous cinematographers said this (Connie Hall and his ilks I believe) from that documentary Visions of Light - and I'm sorry that my film history is relatively out the window that I have to be quoting a documentary - that all breakthroughs in artful cinematography were halted because of sound, that the bandwagon jumping really forced the filmmakers - cinematographers especially - to abandon all the beautiful achievements they were making, so Edison's desire for coloring definitely did not speak for everyone. And Edison himself can't be the best representative for an altruistic artist anyway because 1) he wasn't that much of a filmmaker and 2) he was aggressive in his money-making ways.

I'm not entirely sure if you're being sarcastic (I want to believe you're being sincere despite the marquee's warning) but there's no need to belittle yourself here. Everybody gets their information from somewhere. I've also seen Visions of Light and remember what you're talking about. There's no denying that many cinematographers were upset and many directors had a hard time transitioning from silent to sound. The difficulty of recording useable audio put limitations on what the camera could do. It took a while for things to catch up to where they were. King Vidor's The Crowd is full of crazy, amazing cinematography. His Street Scene made five years later is sort of plain. There's a clip on youtube of Vidor (from Scorsese's Journey Through American Movies) talking about the painful period of change. Then again, Fritz Lang had no apparent difficulty. Chaplin transitioned just fine despite not making many sound films (though his cinematography was always pretty plain, I guess).

Arguably, though, cinematographers were angry because the primacy of their craft was suddenly contested and directors were mad that they had to deal with a new set of challenges. It's an old dog new tricks thing (maybe that's the case with me as well, but I don't think so). Few disputed the ultimate benefits of sound and, later, color. They just disliked the working methods or had trouble acclimating. And really, what with all the attempts at imitating sound and color, they must have seemed like an inevitability from the start. Even if one personally prefers black and white, silent films, it's pretty hard to dismiss sound and color outright. They allow the medium to better mimic how most people experience the world with their eyes and ears.

My entire argument against 3D is that it detracts from the medium by poorly mimicking actual human experience. As long as film remains only an audiovisual medium, I can't see how 3D will improve upon what we currently have. If you look across your room right now and see a table and some chairs and a wall a few feet behind them, that image can, with proper lensing and so forth, look virtually the same as it does to you now projected in 2D. In 3D the table and chairs would appear to pop out at you or the room would be given unnatural depth. Now, I'm not arguing that the technology is as good as it will ever be. But as they make improvements, they'll be moving it closer to how good 2D projection currently looks. The only reason I can envision for this endeavor is that somehow, somebody is making money. No shame in husslin. I just dislike the notion that there's some sort of artistic justification, by which I mean that it is somehow better for or an improvement upon the medium. That it is somehow progress. If we're destined for amazing holographic projection storytelling, cool. It'll be interesting to see. Only then though can we decide whether or not such a thing is really a movie. 

Also, sorry, but this irked me, I wasn't appealing to Edison as an artist. I meant only to indicate that even from the inventor's standpoint, color was always the goal. Black and white was a sort of beautiful (I hesitate to say) shortcoming, which people fell in love with and fought for and did wonderful things with. I'm grateful for it, it can be gorgeous, but it makes sense that color would become the norm. 3D doesn't make sense. For me anyway. Even when I try to envision what it might potentially become. I like Scorsese. Hell, I often like Jackson and Cameron. But, from what I know right now, I have to disagree with them. I'm fully open to the certainty that they know more than I do and will be first to admit if I am proven wrong.

Also also, apologies to Rian Johnson and his fans. I know this is a tired argument. Still I'm glad we're having this talk, pete.

ono

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Re: Rian Johnson
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2012, 12:04:41 AM »
+1

 

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