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New on DVD and Blu-Ray

This week sees the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s “official” comeback (after the very solid horror-comedy The Visit), Split. Now, I am majorly in the bag for Shyamalan and his weirdo quirks, so if you don’t like those you’re probably not going to find much to like here, but I found this to be a return to Shyamalan at his prime as a filmmaker, directing the shit out of this movie (with the aid this time of It Follows DoP Mike Gioulakis) and wringing every last drop of tension out of his scenarios while also finding unexpected pathos in them. And he’s aided by two of the very best performances in any of his films, from James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. And the twist adds (or just reveals) a surprising amount of thematic depth for what seems like just a goofy stunt. It’s good, is what I’m saying.

Thank god for M. Night, because otherwise this is a mighty uninspiring new release slate. There’s a sum total of two other new titles, the Jamie Foxx crime thriller Sleepless and the latest victim of Weinstein woes, The Founder, and they’re both barely worth commenting on at all. So that’s all I’ll say. There are at least a lot more catalog titles out this week, with Kino alone producing nearly two times what the studios could, with some being good (Delmer Daves’ Broken Arrow) and others, uh, not reaching that level so much (the Rock Hudson version of A Farewell to Arms). But the biggie of the bunch is undoubtedly Arrow’s mammoth release of Donnie Darko, finally making its way to the US after months as a UK-exclusive. It gets a 4K restoration (which has been making the theatrical rounds), a wealth of old and new special features, and a big booklet featuring a Jake Gyllenhaal introduction, an extensive Richard Kelly interview, and several critical essays (including one from our good friend Nathan Rabin). Aside from that, there’s also Criterion’s two offerings this week, Wim Wenders’ music documentary Buena Vista Social Club and the first Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn collaboration, Woman of the Year, plus Shout Factory releasing Volker Schlondorff’s film adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale and the horror anthology about the African-American experience, Tales from the Hood.

L’assassino (Arrow Academy)
Broken Arrow (Kino)
Buena Vista Social Club (Criterion)
Donnie Darko (Arrow)
A Farewell to Arms (Kino)
The Founder (Anchor Bay)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Shout Factory)
A League of Their Own (Sony)
The Mephisto Waltz (Kino)
Ocean Waves (Universal)
The Rounders (Warner Archive Collection)
The Scar (Kino)
Sleepless (Universal)
Spencer’s Mountain (Warner Archive Collection)
Split (Universal)
Sunset in the West (Kino)
Tales from the Hood (Shout Factory)
Woman of the Year (Criterion)

  • Sometimes, @disqus_7AOfmTpErb:disqus, I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.
    What did we watch last night?

    • The Leftovers, “The Book of Kevin” (s3e1). Decided to just dive right in with this series and catch up on the first two seasons while watching the third. (Since this is a Damon Lindelof joint, I fully expect to hear a whoooooosh every ten minutes or so and have a scene from seasons one or two pop up.) A great, devastating prologue that shifts into a slow, funny, hangout half-hour that shifts in a single scene to an tense, not less funny half-hour, and then a jump forward at the end. All props to the great Mimi Leder for negotiating all the turns ever so smoothly; she does something I haven’t seen since John Sayles’ Lone Star, where times shift without any dissolves or cuts, simply by panning from one part of the shot to another. Past and present and future here are all happening at once.

      What impressed me the most was how much Lost is in this show, especially Lindelof’s investigation into the practice of faith. The prologue (all action, no dialogue) is all about how you keep your faith in a world that is only rational, and the rest of the episode (really the series) places Kevin in the opposite position: how do you keep your rationality in a world that’s stubbornly miraculous? The end of the episode sets up a moment for Kevin that’s the equivalent of Jack’s at the end of Lost‘s “Orientation”: will he act on his disbelief? My guess is he won’t.

      Deadpool. Despite some great chemistry between Morena Beccarin and Ryan Reynolds and a few good jokes (happy International Women’s Day!) this is standard MCU stuff, origin story sinister groups revealing purpose sidekick big CGI fight at the end blah blah blah. I was surprised by how sparse the jokes were; it felt more like Shrek than anything else, an old story with nothing new about it except a stream of contemporary references that will be obsolete in a few years. Can you imagine what Edgar Wright or James Gunn or Adam Reed could have done with this material? This scene feels like it has the real Deadpool spirit: https://youtu.be/_bjT50QbQHY

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Mimi Leder’s direction here was really beautiful – she *gets* this show and what Lindelof is doing (which is ditching any “answers” Lost had and just letting us experience the mysteries of faith and the strange actions and spirits it provokes in us).

        • Something Leder learned on ER and has kept using is that gliding camera and its ability to go between characters, tones, and times without it ever coming across as jarring. It’s like Inception‘s description of dreams: it’s only afterwards that I realize how strange it all is.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            The shot of Kevin asphyxiating himself is so eerie and uncanny – that mid-close up successfully translates him into something rather inhuman.

      • glorbes

        Deadpool was okay. I was expecting to hate it, but I didn’t, so it came out ahead for me.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        The same friend who insisted on watching two Jurassic Park movies Saturday night insisted we watch Deadpool last year. It was fine in that it had more humor than I expected (I don’t really watch superhero movies), but it still dragged needlessly in stretches. My favorite running gag: The kid from Other Space consistently referring to him as “Mr. Pool.”

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          The whole riff on how ugly he is now was fucking great, no ifs ands or buts about it. “I’m sorry, its just…you are *haunting*.”

          • I suspect that there’s a six-minute outtake that’s just TJ Miller riffing on that topic and they picked the best lines. Like this: https://youtu.be/W_DSOnOQnuk

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I’ve watched this so many times. I never get tired of this clip.

            There was a great Mike Judge profile recently in one of the New York magazines (I think NYT) that suggested Judge cast Miller in part because simply seeing Miller cracked him up.

        • Sadly, the best joke was the first, implying that Rob Liefeld finally got what was coming to him.

    • glorbes

      Season 4 of Buffy is *almost over* (with an episode left that I assume is more epilogue than anything else). I’m not sad that the whole Initiative business is over. It was diverting, and it didn’t suck really bad, but it was pretty lame on the whole. Adam was kind of a non-entity, and Spike, while always good for a laugh, felt under-utilized considering how often he was on the show.

      • The final episode is more of a prologue to season 5 than an epilogue to 4, but it’s pretty damn amazing.

        • glorbes

          I look forward to it then.

        • It’s my personal favorite Buffy episode… not to oversell it or anything.

        • ZoeZ

          Among many, many other great bits, I find Xander’s line (spoilered just in case) “I’m a comfortador” iconic in a small but moving way.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I wonder if the Intiative works more as a stepping stone into Whedon’s general interest in authority vs the individual rather than as an actual plot.

      • glorbes

        Oh, also, I find myself liking Rogue One quite a bit. I wish it was a story that was more divorced from the other films, and Felicity Jones is a weak link, but I can imagine this sort of thing at this scale being applied to something truly fun. As it stands, having watched it twice over the weekend (my kids also wanting to re-watch it), it has actually grown a bit in my estimation. Also, in terms of Edwards working with actors and getting some emotion out of them, it’s a giant leap forward from Godzilla and Monsters.

    • Drunk Napoleon

      The Shield, Season Three, Part One – “Playing Tight” through to “Cracking Ice”
      “Loyalty. That most disposable of virtues.”
      Yesterday, I joked that my mind hadn’t been warped by constantly watching The Shield, but apparently it takes trhee straight days of watching for the effects to sink in. At work, I found myself moving and acting quickly (occasionally, finding my mouth moving before my brain and nearly getting into trouble), thinking two steps ahead with every action, looking at the world and seeing how it would be shot, and also my time-to-ownage was higher. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like at the end of the week.

      “I’m not gonna judge the life you chose, but I’m not gonna get sucked into it either.”
      Watching thirteen episodes a day is pushing it, watching fifteen is genuinely impossible, so today I’m cutting the season in half. It’s a shame, because the show’s relentless dramatic pacing is perfect for marathon runs, as I get swept up in the show’s plot and get excited when I remember something cool is about to get followed up right now, and I’ll get to the fucking awesome bits I vaguely remember within the next hour or two. I remember my initial reaction to season three was finding it too slow-paced towards the end, but I barely noticed this time.

      “What happened last night was an error in judgement.”
      The episodic elements are seriously toned down at this point – the Strike Team are dick-deep in crisis mode at this point, Claudette is making her play at Captain, Acevada is dealing with his total success in getting elected (interfered with by certain events), Danny is trying to get back to normal on the force, and Dutch’s cases usually covered a few episodes even back in the day. Dutch and Claudette’s investigations in season two tended to generate elements Vic could take advantage of, but now that’s all escalated.

      “If my tone sounds superior, it’s because I’m American and you’re Greek!”
      I recall my other reaction to season three was that things had started falling apart, though I notice things basically fell apart right from the second episode this time – they lose protection from Gilroy very quickly, for example. The show is a constant downward slope as they sacrifice more and more to stay alive and out of prison. I remember people describing Breaking Bad as a constant downward slope, and while Walt had a constant moral decline it felt different – more like a constant rise in power, which is empowering even through his increased evil. Vic’s downward spiral involves being stripped of literally everything important to him, right from the beginning.

      “Be nice to get away from all the drama.”
      One of the big upshots of dramatic storytelling is, surprisingly, rewatchability. Now that I’ve seen the whole thing, individual choices have more oomph, because it’s easier to see what could have been if they’d made the other choice – ZoeZ brought this up yesterday, with Shane nearly calling off the Money Train heist. If the Money Train heist had been called off, if Shane had accepted Tavon, if Vic had trusted Ronnie with taking out Terry, things could have been very different.

      “Looks like Kern’s not too big to be whipped.”
      “Next thing you know, he’ll be buying her a car.”
      A good thirty percent of the lines now are variations on “Damn, it sucks that we’re characters in a dramatic story!”. “If we hadn’t done that, this wouldn’t have happened”, “We have no time to make a decision”, “There’s no going back”. Another thirty percent are lines that make sense in context but are painful knowing the future, with the worst being that top comment, something Dutch says offhand about a crime he’s investigating.

      “That was a one-time war crime, and I apologised.”
      Seeing Mara’s very first scene and plot, it makes sense to me that certain people hated her all the way. Everything she does at first is straight out of the “golddigger/Yoko Ono” handbook. The writers, obviously, took her and Shane’s relationship seriously, committed dramatically, and created one of the all-time great characters and relationships, but I can see how sexist idiots continued to project that stereotype onto her.

      “Still got that boyfriend?”
      “Still got that wife?”
      “No. Still got that boyfriend?”
      I believe Dutch’s story acts in counterpoint to Vic the same way Peggy exists in counterpoint to Don. His story is one of growth and change, as he incites a small action and follows it through to the end (the fact that he never does anything as extreme as Vic is what keeps this stories short and relatively low-key). The Dutch of early season one would have jumped on the opportunity to lead the Barn; the Dutch who is offered that opportunity in a few seasons will know his strengths, weaknesses, and desires much better and turn it down. It’s moments like Dutch realising (partly through Claudette gently pointing it out) that his actions, while humiliating, have pushed him closer to the Cuddler Rapist that lead to that. To put it another way, I said before that the early parts of the show were episodic but linked by shifting emotions and relationships, and Dutch’s story is like that the whole way through.

      “I’ve got tickets for Journey.”
      Originality is not The Shield‘s strong point, and I was amused thinking about Vic’s morality to realise that it’s pretty much identical to the morality of most cop shows – is there really a difference between Vic and Gibbs of NCIS, aside from the fact that one is rewarded for his morality and the other isn’t?

      • On that last point: there really isn’t, and that’s part of The Shield‘s greatness. Like Michael Mann or William Friedkin, The Shield doesn’t so much judge Vic as say “let’s look at this character who Gets Results You Stupid Chief and see what would necessarily happen: what he would do, how others would react.” The Shield denies neither his ownage nor his fate.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          It’s also the element that makes it a fun genre story. The Shield is, from top to bottom, cop show cliches; the dramatic reappropriation of them makes it a joyful experience for police procedural fans like myself.

      • ZoeZ

        It’s far from the only factor at play, but I’ve always thought that if Shane had accepted Tavon, the Money Train cash might not have gotten burned–Lem’s in a vulnerable state right then partly because he’s just had to back up Vic’s lie to Tavon about him hurting Mara. For that matter, Vic backing off Shane’s obvious love for Mara could also have saved everything: if they don’t have that, there’s no break-up and therefore no Antwon, who kicks off a lot of crucial plot points.

        I like your idea about Dutch’s story acting as a counterpoint to Vic’s, and that also makes it especially notable that he gets the most traditional happy ending out of all the cast, inching his way towards victory on a case that matters to him, respected and appreciated by Claudette, and with a hot lawyer’s number in his pocket. Attaboy.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          I have this theory that longer stories need some kind of counterweight to make them easier to watch – it’s much easier to hold yourself through Don spinning in circles with Peggy there constantly rising, and it’s easier to witness Vic’s fall knowing there’s a relatively nice dude just living his life and coming to recognise himself out there in the world too.

          Compare with Spartacus, where we have a pleasure of seeing a badass tragedy underneath our hero’s growth, and contrast with Breaking Bad, which had both the major stories inelegantly welded together in the one character and the best side story we got was Jesse Getting More Traumatised.

          • DJ JD

            I think you might’ve just nailed down why my wife and I keep finding excuses to not get back into BB. We respected it a great deal and mostly got into it, but we also found ourselves just not enjoying the process of watching it. When something distracted us, we just sort of never got back around to it.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            My first watch, there was a point in late season four when I realised I was either annoyed by or actively hated every single character in the show, and was impressed that the writers had gotten me hooked anyway.

          • Son of Griff

            i’m currently re-watching BB under a new “one episode of quality TV a day” regimen. I’m finding it better to take in smaller, steady doses, but I’m now at episode 7 and its gonna take a few more moments to get to where the show found the world it wanted to build.

          • The Ploughman

            Sounds like my wife and I with Treme.

          • ZoeZ

            I do love Breaking Bad, but at some point I need to write an article about how many of its essential beats are The Shield‘s with the a lot of the moral complexity stripped down, which I think goes hand-in-hand with this particular structural issue.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            YES.

          • For a TV series, on a basic level, there’s also the question of time. The Shield‘s core story would really be over in about three seasons, but the additional stories allowed it to run for seven without any padding (except perhaps in seasons three and four). Breaking Bad started this way but recognized by around season three that it had one character it cared about and one story it wanted to tell.

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

          The Shane/Mara/Vic question really speaks to Vic’s idea of loyalty: Namely, he expects everyone on the team to be loyal to him first and foremost. He simply can’t accept that Shane would be loyal to someone else first– perhaps he can’t even comprehend that; certainly his relationship with Corrine was never like that– and so he can’t recognize that Mara genuinely loves him and will stick by him no matter what, and Shane her. So his only response is to assume the worst and to try to drive a wedge between Shane and Mara, which of course leads instead to driving a wedge between himself and Shane that never really heals, even in seasons 4 and 5 (and obviously we know how that ends up).

          • ZoeZ

            One of Vic’s key lines for me in his confrontation with Shane in “Chasing Ghosts” has always been “you made that decision on your own.” He’s genuinely and understandably horrified by Shane’s murder of Lem, but he’s also doing an elegant little tap dance in that scene, disavowing any responsibility for Shane’s action (I don’t control you, I didn’t start this, I have no idea what you’re even talking about) while at the same time getting indignant that he, by his standards, didn’t have that responsibility. Part of his horror boils down to his bone-deep surprise that Shane, like Frankenstein’s monster*, is both of his making and a person in his own right, and Vic’s claim, effectively, is that if Shane’s going to be the latter, Vic won’t recognize him as the former.

            If the dark comedic undertone of Shane in that scene is the kid in the anti-drug commercial–“From you, okay? I learned it from watching you!”–Vic’s is “murder parent,” upbraiding him for what he’s done while sadly saying, “But what really bothers me is you didn’t think you could talk to me about this.”

            Which is part and parcel, actually, with their relationship more generally. I believe their friendship is genuine, and I find it genuinely heartbreaking, but there’s a definite pattern of Vic treating Shane like a kid, and more specifically like his kid. (Vic’s relationships, romantic or not, tend to have a reasonably clear power structure, which I think is another reason he can’t quite get Shane/Mara, because they’re equally supportive of each other and equally in love with each other; that, to Vic, looks like Shane’s whipped.) It’s Matthew’s autism and the need to be supportive of him throughout that that makes Vic intervene in Shane’s downward spiral at the beginning of season one and make his support clear (if “Shane, my autistic son is a metaphor for you” is all I’m ever known for, I’m okay with that); it’s Cassidy dressing provocatively and having raucous parties and generally acting up that makes him last-minute rethink the hit on Shane because hey, maybe he did have some influence on him if he’s been “acting out.” Ronnie’s reaction to this is low-key hilarious: whether he actually say it or not, everything in his demeanor screams, “Vic, Shane is not your teenage daughter.”

            Some of this Shane honestly probably likes (shrugging off his various misadventures, like purchasing a fake LAPD badge on the black market, as “Shane gonna Shane”; looking outraged at Lem still daring to be mad at Shane after Shane totally says he’s sorry in season four), and a lot of it comes from real affection. But that dynamic is the curse of their relationship, as Shane himself will eventually point out, and in the long run, Vic’s inability to either recognize or accept that Shane is an adult capable of his own commitments, motivations, and decisions even as he’s his protege dooms them as much as anything else. And Shane has trouble fully making that break, too, though he does by the end. But if Vic’s insistence of both separation and righteousness becomes “I’m not Shane,” Shane would have done better, ironically, by drawing on that just enough to stop trying to be Vic.

            * Thanks, Season Five DVD special features.

            ETA: Okay, I did not realize how long that had gotten.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I don’t think Vic has any relationships in the series where he’s on relatively equal footing with the other person. Maybe briefly or temporarily, but even with people he’s subordinate to in the hierarchy, he often considers himself superior to in some other way (see Aceveda and Claudette when they’re captains, for example).

          • Drunk Napoleon

            I was very surprised to learn on rewatch that Vic doesn’t actually say “Shane, my autistic son is a metaphor for you.”

          • ZoeZ

            Only in his heart.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Also: the plan was to watch The Shield, then get into gear writing my literary Talleyrand. This was a flawed plan, because now I see the world in purely dramatic terms, and it’s taking everything in me not to go out and write an entire dramatic novel.

        I am delighted, though, that for all The Shield throws my flaws in TT into sharp relief, it also shows the bits I managed really well – I think I perfectly pulled off the opening act of my story, and my problem was simply too few dramatic players.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Shit, I just remembered something I meant to put in: I notice that Vic has the most complicated morality system, with five or six motivations that are slowly stripped down to one. Then secondary characters like Acevada, Danny, Dutch, and Claudette who have two motivations which are stripped down to one more slowly. Finally, there are tertiary characters like the case-of-the-week, Tommy, or the oncoming Billings who have a single motivation.

        • Picking up on what you said yesterday about how the Money Train robbery brings in almost all of Vic’s moralities: it also demonstrates his hubris, his belief that he doesn’t have to choose among them. That’s why it’s the perfect moment to close out Act One, the Situation: the rest of the series will be about forcing Vic to choose among his moralities.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            Oh, I really like that. I’m really liking the idea that the heart of tragedy is thinking that It Can Be Two Things.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      The Man Who Would Be King – Racist and colonialist as FUCK, but…goddamn this movie really got to me. Connery’s last moment is quite extraordinary – the whole film is one of his finest hours.

      The Leftovers – Echoing @disqus_wallflower:disqus . The last five minutes have me utterly excited to see where the writers go next and maybe also a bit scared.

      What If – a sweet, predictable romantic comedy that really works by having very good leads in Radcliffe and Kazan and some genuine little twists and turns. Also Adam Driver.

      Mad Men, “The Beautiful Girls”. Its weird watching this knowing that Megan will be a much bigger character in the next three episodes. Here, her embrace of Sally, so genuinely warm and exactly what this kid needs, is fraught with significance.

      • That’s the exact same MM I watched last night. It was obvious she’ll become a bigger character – one-off secretaries aren’t usually given moments like that. Don’t know what she’ll become, but by the look on Don’s face, it’ll be interesting.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        My first time through the show, I was spoiled for like half the major plot points, and I spent all of season four keeping an eye out for Megan, only to be surprised when I finally realised which one she was.

        It’s funny that Mad Men‘s literary plotting makes it pretty much unspoilable – the big moments are exactly as important as the little moments, in the end.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Thats a great way of putting it. All of the moments onscreen eventually add up to something much greater, whether we know it or not.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            I like to think that one of the underlying truths of Mad Men is “just because it doesn’t matter doesn’t mean it’s not important”.

      • Have you read the original Kipling story for “The Man Who Would Be King”? It’s been a while for me, but I remember it being one of the more thematically interesting of Kipling’s stories.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I haven’t though I might (my dad just gave me like ten books, so my work is cut out for me this summer). As far as I know the movie is very close to the story. You can see why the story’s been reinterpreted a few different times – there’s such a weight and mythic tragedy to the story (even if it’s still essentially two white racist con men bilking an entire civilization). They fly too close to the sun.

          • I don’t remember the mythicness to the characters in the story–my memory says that it’s the story that complicates Kipling’s legacy as a pro-colonialist because it shows just how exploitative these guys are. But I may just be projecting. It’s been a while, as I said.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Maybe that’s more Huston bringing that in but it feels like Pinky creating his own sort of story for himself, something epic and wild.

        • pico79

          Kipling’s story has one of the best moments in all of his writing. It’s a subtle bit of language, but when Peachy gets to the violent end of his story, he starts referring to himself in the third person, as if he can no longer relive the story he’s telling, but has to isolate himself the narrator from himself the survivor. Kipling doesn’t draw attention to it, just lets the subtle shift in perspective work its magic.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Caine does a beautiful job in that final scene – you can feel the tenderness he feels for his fallen friend and the trauma he’s been through.

      • What If is my favourite romantic comedy of recent times. Radcliffe and Kazan have excellent chemistry, I’d really like to see them work together again.

      • glorbes

        The Man Who Would Be King is a great movie.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Huston really had one of the greatest careers of any filmmaker. At least *three* of his movies could have made him a legend on their own.

      • clytie

        I ordered the first two seasons of The Leftovers thanks to the comments here. Can’t wait to watch it!

      • Miller

        As a huge fan of Goon I am annoyed with myself for not yet seeing What If.

    • Over the long weekend…

      Snowpiercer – this still hasn’t had a proper UK release so I finally bit the bullet and imported the Australian blu-ray. Sadly I wasn’t quite as enamoured with it as I hoped, I found Chris Evans to be a total deadweight in the lead which stopped me from really connecting with anything even though the general vibe of the apocalypse train is something pretty special. Still enjoyed it, but I can’t quite get onboard with the cult of Snowpiercer.

      Speed Racer – no such problem here though, this is an amazing film and I absolutely loved every colorful second of it. The perfect accompaniment to Easter chocolate.

      Krull – one of those films that really needs to be seen aged eight to really work, but the production design is good (and weird) enough that I enjoyed it quite a bit all the same.

      Arrival – really loved this. I haven’t seen a film with such a strong “oh NOW I get it!” ending for a long time – not exactly a twist, just a recalibration. I thought the dialogue was a little clunky at times, largely when delivered by Jeremy Renner (who I don’t think I’ll ever warm to) but Amy Adams was sensational and I loved the score.

      Fort Apache – a Western in a sea of sci-fi! Loved the first half, full of those lovely world-building diversions that John Ford westerns always seem to have (dances, a musical number, romance), the second half branches into more traditional heroes and villains territory but with a nicely ambiguous message.

      Johnny Mnemonic – utter nonsense, in the most wonderful way. I barely stopped laughing all the way through. Not exactly so-bad-it’s-good because it’s genuinely entertaining on purpose, but Keanu’s performance and the amazingly dated visuals (and soundtrack) just sent me to a world of childlike glee.

      Stalker – my long-overdue first visit to the world of Andrei Tarkovsky, and while I was extremely impressed by the cinematography and sound design, this just isn’t really my kind of film – long, slow and mostly uninterested in entertaining an audience in any traditional way. I can (and did) admire it and I’m glad I’ve finally seen it, but it’s definitely one for my “guilty non-pleasures” list.

      Perfect Sense – an epidemic movie that fully commits to its slightly ridiculous premise (people start experiencing a wave of grief, then they lose their sense of smell…) and is all the better for it. Eva Green and Ewan McGregor are really good as the leads, falling in love as the world falls apart. Fun in a bleak sort of way, and with a sweet message.

      • Tarkovsky’s best intro, I’ve found, is Solaris – if 2001 is on your wavelength, then it should be, too.

        • It’s more on my wavelength than Stalker was, but still somewhat more on the “admired” rather than the “loved” side of the spectrum. I’ve seen the Soderbergh Solaris and quite liked it, and I’ll definitely give the Tarkovsky version a shot sooner rather than later.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        *writes “guilty non-pleasure” in my list of Useful Critical Terms I Picked Up At The Solute*

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I really liked Perfect Sense too – Green is just good at EVERYTHING.

        • Even epidemiology!

      • DJ JD

        100% agree on both Snowpiercer and Speed Racer. I liked SP well enough, I guess, but I was not as enthralled as some–but I adored SR, and still do.

        I know it’s stupid to grouse about things that threw my suspension of disbelief with a movie like that, but I was fairly hung up on a few problems with that one. I never really got why the train was better at staving off the cold than an insulated building would’ve been, and I remain convinced to this day that they all froze and died after the credits rolled, because it’s not like survival above the treeline is easy now, even for prepared survival experts. You show me a bunch of wounded people trying to survive in snowy mountains who know nothing about mountain survival, and some of whom want to kill each other, and I’ll show you a bunch of frozen-solid corpses. I had the same problem with Wall-E: no way those people survived. Still, it had some scenes that stuck with me, I’ll give it that.

        • I had similar suspension-of-disbelief issues, although not really around the same things. It just seemed so interested in generating compelling images that it disregarded any kind of internal logic for the train at all, which made for a fun experience in parts but not a particularly immersive one. For example, Alison Pill’s schoolteacher scene was wonderfully entertaining but it didn’t seem to fit in the same film as anything else that happened.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            I find myself reacting that way to a lot of Asian pop culture, which makes some hard tonal shifts that sometimes works for me and sometimes really, really doesn’t.

          • DJ JD

            I have no real interest in seeing it again, but I wonder if structurally, your point is more of the foundation to my unwillingness to play along than I realized at the time. I mean, each car almost felt like an unrelated episode in a way, and while I’m sure that was intentional, I’m also pretty sure it didn’t help me once the movie started losing me.

      • glorbes

        I did not care for Snowpiercer. I thought the last stretch was awful, and by the time I reached the ending, I was completely checked out. It wasn’t the worst thing I have ever seen, but I was completely baffled by the universal praise it received.

        • I never got as far as awful, but I had definitely checked out somewhat by the end, and I’m certainly confused by the universal praise. Even my boss had been singing its praises, and he barely ever talks about films.

          If it had been sold as an intriguing mess rather than a Really Great Film then I might have been a bit less disappointed by it.

          • glorbes

            Ed Harris’s arrival, and subsequent info dump, essentially killed the momentum and, ah, derailed the whole thing for me.

          • I think Ed Harris was supposed to be a momentum killer. He was designed to be the last stop. He functions in the exact same manner as the one controller guy in The Matrix 2, who stops Keanu’s God-like drive to offer him a choice. In a way, it stops the movie cold and recontextualizes everything before it (unlike the girl running in and revealing the kids being used as gears). I always think of Evans as being a one-man faceless mob (because he’s so bland), and Harris being a voice of reason. Almost.

          • glorbes

            If that is the case…it did not work for me.

      • ZoeZ

        The bits of Snowpiercer I liked were all incidental to the plot: it felt like it wanted to be a TV show rather than a movie, something where it could dig into the world-building of the train (Tilda Swinton’s strangeness, the children singing “we all freeze and die,” the lush opulence of the forward cars, the missing limbs) more leisurely and find its story naturally from that. As is, the plot feels like a standard overthrow-the-dystopia plot, down to the twists.

        • pico79

          The “New Years Celebration” in the middle of the axe fight is one of my favorite movie moments ever. I just wish the rest of the movie were that amazingly bonkers.

      • lgauge

        Since no one else is, let me be the one opposing voice and say that I loved Snowpiercer. I wasn’t bothered by any structural, believability or writing issues at all and had a blast all the way through with the imagery as well as the characters and the world. I usually don’t expect movies like this to make too much sense because I don’t feel they try all that hard to do so (whereas with *cough* Arrival, I do think there is very much an attempt to be very smart and then the bar to clear becomes way higher, a bar I don’t think it clears, but I’ve said my piece on that particular film). Though I can’t say I’m completely consistent on this issue. Usually, if I find something really compelling about a film like this, these issues never really come into play anyway because I’m enjoying myself so much.

        • Oh absolutely, if I find the film generally compelling then I’ll forgive pretty much anything. Snowpiercer never quite got to the level where I could overlook it’s flaws though, sadly. Maybe my expectations were too high, due to the hype and my fondness for the directors other films.

      • Miller

        I am loving the idea of a Johnny Mnemonic/Stalker double bill.

    • The first half of Toni Erdmann, which was… not as hilarious as advertised? I dunno, things started ratcheting up toward the end of the 80 minutes I watched, and I’ll grant that I got a gag/chuckle out of the blood squirting from the infected toe. So I guess we’ll see what the back half holds. But overall, this movie is much nervier and more dramatic than I was expecting given the conversation around it.

      • pico79

        It’s basically one of those films where there’s drama, then a small bit of comedy, then drama, then a slightly larger bit of comedy, then drama, then a slightly larger bit of comedy, until you get long and sustained comedy setpieces toward the end. That’s also why people remember the movie as hilarious, because it’s all end-weighted.

    • ZoeZ

      Veep, “Omaha.” I think people are probably right that the fifth and now sixth seasons are overcompensating with crudeness to make up for the lack of Iannucci, but there is, nonetheless, some quality crudeness and awfulness here. Highlight is Ben, between dismissing being fired from Uber (“Bunch of damn Millennials too lazy to learn how to drive drunk”) and reflectively putting together a connection between the two causes of Selina’s charity, adult literacy and–impulsively–AIDS: “Maybe if we teach them how to read the wrapper on a condom, they’ll stop getting AIDS.” “So there’s hope.”

      Five Came Back, the final installment. Well, that wrecked me for anything else for the rest of the evening, so other plans got moved. What gets to me most is my tremendous respect for these bits of quiet nobility–Stevens going ahead of his men into Dachau so he would never be asking them to witness something he hadn’t witnessed himself and Huston’s nuanced empathy for the men suffering from PTSD. And Wyler reaching his hometown only to discover it entirely depopulated from the Holocaust is devastating.

    • Mirror (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975): Transfixing avant-garde cinema that transports the viewer into the psyche of its director as he grapples with his past, present and future. The experience of watching this process really is incredible even if it loses some of its steam towards the end.

      The last three episodes of the second season of Fargo.

      Wow.
      Wow.
      Wow.

      “You’re a good man.”
      “Well…I don’t know about all that. But I do like to think I have good intentions.”

      As a meditation on the nature of our own existence, the presence of futility in our own lives and gender norms, Fargo Season Two is profound and incredibly layered.

      As an acting showcase for all its actors, but particularly Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, Fargo Season Two is a tour de force.

      And just as a season of television, Fargo Season Two is outright phenomenal and an absolutely incredible achievement. A thousands bravos to you Noah Hawley.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I’m going to warn you Fargo season two had kind of a Abrams Effect on me where once I thought about it a good chunk of it really doesn’t work for me. Maybe that won’t happen to you!! But…goddamn it Hawley does not understand Camus and that drives me fucking insane (IT’S NOT HARD TO GET AAARRRRGGGGGGHHH).

    • Babalugats

      A couple movies with my family over the holiday.

      I watched Batman (1966) – with my niece, nephew, and my cousin’s daughter.

      My niece totally got the movie, caught all the jokes, thought it was hilarious.

      My nephew is of the opinion that Batman is awesome and this movie is convincing evidence. Batman carries shark repellent, pretty awesome. Batman can change into his costume as he slides down a fire pole, pretty awesome. Batman has a fleet of bat-themed vehicles stashed all over Gotham, very awesome. He makes a compelling argument.

      My cousin’s daughter however was not emotionally equipped to handle the film. It was a direct assault on her understanding of reality and she watched the movie in seething rage that would occasionally boil over and she would scream some question or observation at the TV, like, “Why are their eyebrows on his mask?!!!” Which would send me and my niece into a fit of giggles as my nephew tried in vain to explain how it was because Batman’s awesome. Anyway, I still say this is the best superhero movie ever made.

      Rogue One – I kind of hate this movie. There’s things that I like about it; the production design, Ben Mendelsohn. But it’s so god damned boring. Just wall to wall exposition. And the only character whose name I can remember is Darth Vader. The score is really bad. It’s the old Star Wars score, except instead of building it just kind of trails off. And why would you hire Mads Mikkelsen for your Star Wars movie and not have him play an evil jedi? Also, I’m not much of a moralist but animating the corpse of a dead actor to be in your movie should be fucking illegal. Especially if that animation is going to look like garbage. And the pacing is off. One of the things I like about Star Wars is that, like the westerns and samurai movies it’s drawn from, it takes the characters a long time to get anywhere. The people are spread out. It makes the world feel big and mythic, and the people who are in the story feel necessary. Their personalities shape their environment and shape the narrative. This movie is way too long, but still feels rushed, even though not much happens. We’re just quickly cutting from one crowded meeting to another with no breathing room and no rythme. Also, Darth Vader should not make puns. I watched this movie in a living room and there were four walkouts.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Rogue One is *just* not that good. There are some good “elements” but I’m starting to think the Machine process of writing Cinematic Universe movies can easily render these films really stale and product-y. Also Felicity Jones’ face bothers me, there I said it.

        • glorbes

          It’s weird to me that TFA has such awesome casting, and Rogue One kind of bungled the lead role. Jones has more experience and a bigger filmography than Daisy Ridley, so I wonder if it’s the case of an actor needing a much stronger director, or if she was simply out of her depth in the role.

          • The Narrator

            Based on the performances in Edwards’ Godzilla, I’m willing to place a decent amount of money on the former.

      • ZoeZ

        I liked Rogue One and this is still the kind of accurate pan that brings me great joy. (And I would support legislation to make the “animating the corpse of a dead actor” thing punishable by jail time.)

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I almost freaked out when I saw Cushing’s hideous CGI form.

        • DJ JD

          Replying for a double-upvote. I loved R1 and I still thought every point he made was completely legit.

        • glorbes

          Whenever I talk about Rogue One, I seem to purge Zombie Cushing from my memory.

      • DJ JD

        I can’t imagine a better way to watch Batman ’66 than the one you described. How did your cousin’s daughter react to the reality that on certain terrestrial rotations, one finds insurmountable circumstantial resistance to the imperative necessity to dispose of a specific high-explosive device?

        • Babalugats

          She was upset that the bomb had an unreasonably slow fuse. The ducks really played to the room. My niece thought it was hilarious and it’s my favorite gag in the whole movie, my nephew thinks it’s pretty awesome that Batman saved those ducks, and my cousin’s daughter said (I’m paraphrasing here), “Arghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!”

          The three true reactions to that film.

      • glorbes

        I’m fascinated by the fault-lines forming in Star Wars fandom. I like both Rogue One and The Force Awakens, but it seems those that don’t like them hate them with the intensity of a thousand suns. For me, Star Wars has one truly decent artistic film (the first one), one GREAT franchise entry (Empire), and the rest I enjoy with caveats (I’m not including the prequels in this…just the Disney entries). I actually think Rogue One worked better for me after watching it a second time, but if you hated it, then that wouldn’t necessarily be something of interest.

        I may actually have a Solute piece about this Star Wars thing.

        I WILL say that I agree with you 100% about Batman 66. That movie is my second favourite Batman movie, and one of my favourite superhero movies period.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I don’t really love Rogue One but hey I love Force Awakens (even if on rewatch me and my pal both openly groaned at the “garbage compactor” reference).

        • Babalugats

          The funny thing is that I really liked The Force Awakens. I went in with very low expectations, mostly out of cultural obligation, and ended up enjoying it alot. It’s not a Great movie like the originals and I don’t disagree with its criticisms, but I still think it’s a blast and I love the characters. AND I kind of like Gareth Edward’s Godzilla. So I went into this with much higher expectations, and it was exactly the movie I was worried that Force Awakens was going to be. Everything I hate about modern blockbusters in a context where I’m too emotionally invested to just roll with the movie.

          • Miller

            I went into Force with low expectations, enjoyed it but then got a massive case of the Abrams Effect Conor mentions above. Whereas I like Rogue mostly for its promise and potential — a universe without Skywalker drama! The Force as mystery and belief instead of tool! Fatalism but not fate! There is a lot to be done with this world yet.

        • Will_Feral_Animal

          Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

          • glorbes

            I’ll be sure to ALSO discuss my lunatic ideas about taxation, immigration, and lizard people.

      • “I watched this movie in a living room and there were four walkouts.”

        I love this, it’s so amazingly brutal. They should put it on the poster.

        • HypercubeVillain

          Man, Rogue One had better have a volcano temperature-resistant Bacta tank ready, because that was a Mustafar-level BURN.

      • My mother has been trying to get me to watch Rogue One. She liked it. I’m completely over the franchise though.

        • glorbes

          I would say you are wise to skip it.

          • I don’t even know why she’s on board with Rogue One. I think she skipped The Force Awakens and had no interest in the prequels. It’s really odd.

        • silverwheel

          I could tell that I was done with the franchise when I couldn’t even get pumped for a 70mm showing at the St Louis Science Center.

      • clytie

        Does anyone else find Ben Mendelsohn incredibly attractive, or is it just me?

        • glorbes

          He’s got nice eyes. If I were into dudes, though, Diego Luna would be more my speed, I think.

      • Miller

        Excellent point about shit being rushed in Rogue One, the rain planet (I refer to it thusly because it was raining there, I don’t remember anything else) was extremely unnecessary and yet we had to get there, dammit!

    • silverwheel

      Over the weekend – Sarah McLachlan – Mirrorball – I had to get myself another copy of this since my previous copy vanished long ago. This never gets any mention as a great concert video, which is a damn shame since it really is quite good, with surprisingly aggressive arrangements throughout. I’ve been listening to her a lot lately, and this reaffirmed its place as one of her best, though it would be nice if Nettwerk reissued this at some point (I had forgotten just how antiquated late 90’s dvd’s can be).

    • clytie

      I re-watched The 13th. While excellent, I thought it went too easy on Dems in the last act. Also, I noticed during this viewing that Newt Gingrich was wearing a FitBit.

      The latest episode of Better Call Saul. The best episode yet. I loved the call back (or show it be call forward?) with Kim asking Jimmy for money.

      Another episode General Hospital! Oh, Valentin, why isn’t everybody you?

      An episode of Fraiser called “The Ski Lodge.” I’ve never seen Fraiser (I don’t like Cheers…), but this episode featured Valentin from GH: James Patrick Stuart and I’m obsessed with him.

      Isn’t he handsome?
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d5b7a35b8ab9ebd385ff38aa10a337c3f37d98b0b7775a10c9a57e0d8dfa4ee4.gif

    • The Narrator

      The Grand Budapest Hotel: Still an absolute delight from start to finish (or at least from start to the point when it reveals what a deeply sad story it is). But most importantly, after three viewings over three years (and me finally watching a movie with him in it that isn’t made by Wes Anderson), I finally noticed Lucas Hedges’ appearance in this movie.

      Live by Night: This so clearly wants to be an expansive epic, but its structure of “here’s a leisurely look at something that happened, then one minute of voice-over explaining what happened at the end of said thing, and then here’s another thing that happened” makes it feel more like a season of TV haphazardly stitched into a movie (Affleck’s attempts to make these events feel less disconnected culminates in a ludicrous scene near the end). And oh dear does Ben need to step away from the front of the lens, because his glum, uncharismatic work as the lead helps to sink whatever remaining potential this had (notice how the movie of his with by far the strongest lead performance is the one starring his brother). There are some good bits and performances in here, especially from Brendan Gleeson and Elle Fanning (both of whom exit the movie like Affleck can’t wait to be rid of them), and it’s gorgeously shot by Robert Richardson (and gorgeously-designed by Jess Gonchor and Jacqueline West), but all this ends up amounting to is a shrug.

    • lgauge

      In the last week and a half or so, I’ve been catching up on Into the Badlands. It’s a show that I don’t hear a lot of people or critics talk about, presumably due to the admittedly often sub-par writing, but I needed something a bit easy to watch and I re-called reading someone praising its diverse cast on Twitter and handling of similar issues, plus something about great fight choreography, so I decided to give it a chance. To get the bad stuff out of the way first, there are definitely some problems with cheesy and undercooked plotting, worldbuilding and character work, it’s a post-apocalyptic setting (though a fairly novel one) and it shares some of the issues with several of the network shows of that kind that cropped up from the mid 00s to early 10s, it also shares some of the problems that the usual suspects of CW and the like sci-fi/fantasy shows tend to have. The creators are also the creators of Smallville and that’s certainly not too much of a surprise. Aside from the more general episode to episode stuff and some of the cliches of the macro plot, there are a few too many open questions related to worldbuilding, how did any of this come to be, how are people getting around, how large are these areas, etc. Maybe they will be answered as the show goes along, but it’s starting to feel a bit lazy.

      So why have I watched 1.5 seasons of this show? The diverse casting is certainly a very nice thing to see in a genre show like this, as is the way the show doesn’t even acknowledge that it’s doing anything of the sort. People look like they look and no one cares. While not always so great, there are signs of political intrigue that make some of the internal struggles more interesting, not too different from early Game of Thrones. However, the main draw is the action, more specifically the fight choreography. It’s amazing. There are no guns in the show, only swords, other handheld weapons and fists. Casting Wu in the lead role, and having a Hong Kong choreographer working on the show, means you get not only something not really seen on TV, you get something better than most American movies. This is as good as at least your average Asian martial arts film, with wider shots and less editing and a bunch of sick moves. It’s also bloody as hell, with both more realistic “sword hits body part and makes it go squish” as well your more artistic blood fountain sprays. It’s a lot of fun and carries the show easily through it’s rocker parts for me. Some of the acting sucks, but some is pretty good, at least in a scenery chewing kind of way.

      It’s not going to be a favorite, but it’s entertaining enough that I’ll keep on watching it as a nice distraction when needed.

      • I sold my dad on ITB by showing him the scene where the hero rides up on a motorcycle and kung-fus people to death.

      • edibletalkingchairs .

        That show is essentially Kung-Fu for sake of Kung-Fu. Tis my favorite show on television.

      • Miller

        I will give this another shot at some point, the ownage is indeed outstanding but everything else … I have less and less patience for bullshit in TV these days, although mainlining the brilliance of Better Call Saul isn’t helping my tolerance for inferior work.

    • edibletalkingchairs .

      G Gundam 1/2 of season one.

      Holy shit did child me did not realize how poorly characterized the other countries fighters are. The Mexican Gundam is named the Tequila Gundam, and their space base is literally a sombrero.

      The Canadian fighter is also a Lumberjack.

  • Dammit, Criterion. Everybody has access to Buena Fucking Vista Social Club, where’s my Until The End Of The World, directors cut?!!? The one you put into theaters two years ago.

    • We need to make a Dammit Criterion tag.

      • glorbes

        Oh, it would get used quite a bit.

    • silverwheel

      Criterion should troll us all and release The Million Dollar Hotel before getting around to Until The End Of The World. Or at least use that as an April Fools’ Joke for next year.

  • glorbes

    QUESTION OF THE DAY

    How hung up do you get on plot holes or contrivances, suspension of disbelief, and conveniences that allow the story to move forward? What sort of circumstances or factors make such things acceptable or unacceptable to you?

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      It’s pretty rare for me to get too bogged down with that – if it makes emotional sense I’ll just let the movie carry me through (as David Fincher said “It’s a fucking movie, jesus”). However I also really admire elegant, dense plotting and symmetry, as seen in Ellroy, Mann and recently Paterson (that screenplay should be taught in classes).

      • glorbes

        This being posed as the question was spurred on by the Snowpiercer discussion, but also by watching Buffy last night with my wife. When Buffy and Willow are going down the elevator shaft to the Initiative headquarters, my wife was put out by the magical appearance of their spelunking gear. To which I said “eh, the story demanded it.” In that case, I really didn’t give a shit that they had the exact tools necessary for them to drop down an elevator shaft, even though there are no previous indications that they brought it with them.

        • Since TV, especially network TV, has even tighter time restrictions than movies, there’s always the possibility that there was that scene and it got cut to bring the episode down to 46 minutes and 15 seconds.

    • It really depends on the movie, mostly it has to do with the movie’s internal logic. In the case of Snowpiercer, it’s a blatantly artificial movie where the external contrivances – that of putting everybody on a train – can be explained away by “well, if they were in a building, then that would be High Rise.”

      But, the movie has to be internally sound. Wild swings of character never work without the movie working for it. Having one scene of grief does not mean somebody is going to change their whole attitude on life. If a character is too full of inconsistencies, or there are too many “conveniences,” it becomes harder to justify.

      Dollhouse‘s Adelle was an example of a borderline unacceptably contrived character. The late second-season reveals completely flip her character’s motivations and actions, and not everything she did fit in with the new, more complicated, persona. By the end, her construction almost seems like Joss fell in love with her character and couldn’t actually see her through to the end.

    • It doesn’t bother me too much unless it’s a violation of the movie’s ground rules. If you set it up so Spell A has Effect A, that’s fine, and it’s part of the buy-in. If Spell A has Effect B, there better be a damn good reason (Fringe‘s 5th season forever upsets me for this). Sometimes a bit of fridge logic will hit me later that sours me on a show, but if it’s able to keep me entranced while watching, I usually give it a pass.

      Bad coincidences are the biggest, “Oh, come on” for me. It’s why I can’t read Dickens. I especially can’t stand when characters are suddenly revealed to be family. Makes the show’s universe feel smaller.

    • Son of Griff

      I’ve felt that it a fools errand to find logical consistencies in action oriented genre films, which is why I pretty much stopped reading nit-picky threads on movies like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. With other sensibilities, like film noir, I’m more of a stickler for unified cause and effect, as the structure of that sensibility is more associated with showing the process of how the narrative proceeds than moving on to the spectacle of violence.

    • Babalugats

      It depends on the movie. I can accept anything that’s introduced with the premise, and plot contrivances and conveniences rarely bother me. Those things do happen sometimes. They’re only a problem when they undermine the drama. Plot holes are trickier, but true plot holes are pretty rare. Usually there’s something that could have happened off screen that would fix the plot, and do you really want to watch that scene? Also, plot isn’t as important as everyone thinks. Most movies are built on an emotional arc, and if that tracks nobody notices the sloppy plotting.

    • Plot holes ‘n’ contrivances, in general, I can handle. (Let me tell you ’bout this totally plausible play called Oedipus the King. . .) What will just instantly kill my interest is a character mistake, where I say “he/she wouldn’t do that.” The function of plot is to reveal character, so when the plot violates the character, all is lost.

      Related to that, and less damaging but still nearly mortal, is plot repetition, where the same thing happens in different forms. (Looking at you both, Sons of Anarchy and The Americans, and yes Joel and Joe, I am putting you in the company of Kurt Sutter and yes those are his clothes.) It’s another form of character violation, to have the same thing happen with the same response, as if there hasn’t been learning or damage.

    • ZoeZ

      I get thrown out of stories more by emotional/moral holes than plot holes (and someone, somewhere, should have a good time with the phrase “moral hole”), sort of an exaggerated, story-wide version of what @disqus_wallflower:disqus has already mentioned. When I’m reading or watching a story with conspicuous, forced bleakness or conspicuous, forced optimism, it doesn’t resonate as a real portrait of people or the world, and if it’s supposed to, I end up backing out. House of Cards was bad for this–eventually it just became clear that everyone was a fairly venal power-seeker with low affect and the only distinction between them was whether or not they would actually commit murder; The Newsroom was just as bad from the other side, claiming that its characters were all misunderstood saints, and I hated it even more.

      It’s generally where the author’s inability to do any form of polyphony shows, if none of the characters can significantly oppose each other enough to point out faults, and it becomes clear that the good, evil, and everything in between are all pretty unexamined, because the author is either afraid of or unable to step out of the dominant thrust of the story to genuinely show how people would respond to it. This is every rom-com with a sociopathic matchmaking plot that everyone in the story’s universe seems to find acceptable, for one thing. (And it’s Thirteen Reasons Why, which I get to be freshly angry about thanks to its Netflix appearance.)

      • glorbes

        How moral is your hole?

    • lgauge

      Usually not very much, but then some other times a lot. I think if I generally like what a movie is doing, then I don’t care, but if I have some issues and don’t feel completely swept up by the story, character and/or visuals then I’m much more likely to start noticing these small issues that don’t make sense or that are inconsistent with what’s happened before.

    • edibletalkingchairs .

      If the films context matches the films logic I prefer it. Case and point the films Pieces, Hercules and the Haunted World, and Nightmare City. It becomes distracting in Hollywood fare because the presentation is always top notch, i.e. the wrong context for flubbing. But, alas, there are always exceptions.

  • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

    There are so many places I wanted to post this and I had no idea which was best. So, here:

    https://twitter.com/intothecrevasse/status/854400961317662722

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Fucking hell Ian McShane.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        You probably don’t want to see my pinned tweet, then.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Huh?

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            I… well, let’s start by clarifying what you meant by “Fucking hell Ian McShane.”